The Wallabies have gone down fighting at Eden Park, losing 27-7 as their hoodoo at the Auckland venue continues at least for another year. A week on from the 16-all draw in Wellington, fans and pundits alike were expecting fireworks again in this decisive Bledisloe Cup test.
While both teams had their moments, the All Blacks outclassed the Wallabies, and dominated the second-half in particular.
The first-half delivered entertaining rugby, which at times was quite similar to last week. The Wallabies looked the more threatening throughout the opening exchanges; attacking well and playing with front-foot ball, but this didn’t necessarily reflect on the scoreboard.
Australia showed plenty of fight to claw their way back into the contest after trailing 10-0, which speaks volumes about the potential of this side. When Aaron Smith crossed for his second try in as many weeks late in the first-half, it appeared as if the hosts had found their groove.
But seven minutes later, the Wallabies got themselves into an attacking position and made the most of it, with a Ned Hanigan break leading to a momentum-shifting try from winger Marika Moroibete. They played patient, calculated rugby and it finally paid off for them.
That being said, just as things were starting to click, an injury to Matt To’omua just before the break seemed to derail the Wallabies attack as their defence continued to struggle.
New Zealand dominated from the get-go in the second term, with Jordie Barrett crossing for a try less than two minutes into the half.
Three tries to none in the second-half, or 17 points to nil, saw the All Blacks claim a much-needed win as they look to hold the Bledisloe for at least another year. They’re now just one win away from extending their supremacy over their Trans-Tasman rivals.
After the draw last week, fans were singing the praises of new coach Dave Rennie and the change that they could see in the new-look Wallabies outfit.
But this week, the attention has turned to the Wallabies defensive performance. The men in gold missed 40 tackles out of 146 attempts, and in key moments, it really cost them. Exciting talent Caleb Clarke ran 40 metres and broke five tackles early in one carry early in the second-half, which laid the platform for Ardie Savea’s try a phase later – two tries in six minutes for the All Blacks, it was always going to be tough coming back from that.
Fans on Twitter definitely felt that the Wallabies defensive woes were an issue on Sunday, with one fan saying that that was not ‘the standard of play we were after.’
Defence and tackling are a matter of attitude, which is exactly the Wallabies problem. Under the pump they don’t have the steel and resolve to work hard. Very soft and not befitting a National team.
— @sutchislyffe (@sutchislyffe) October 18, 2020
Make your tackles wallabies!!!!
— Justine Curatolo (@justinecuratolo) October 18, 2020
Poor very poor performance
— Dean Marsham (@DeanFonzy) October 18, 2020
— Nick D-M (@NickDM) October 18, 2020
I don’t and never will understand why kicking the ball back to the world’s best backline is advantageous…. especially one that’s just found Jonah Lomu 2.0 . Couple that with missed tackles and terrible hands…. we’d have gone down by 40 if Cheika was coach the only positive
— Matt Hamilton (@bargearse75) October 18, 2020
Not the standard of play we were after, either! Started with excellent intensity and intent, but dropped ball (including in contact), missed tackles, kicks straight into the hands of the world’s best counter-attackers, and a struggling lineout, handed it to the ABs.
— DrAshSays (@DrAshSays) October 18, 2020
— O.D (@Osama7500) October 18, 2020
Work on tackling, yeah?
— Caleb (Wear a Mask) Ahearn ??????? ??? (@Kiltsnbagpipes) October 18, 2020
A pivotal moment in the match came just before half-time when inside centre Matt To’omua limped off the field injured. While he was replaced with the exciting Jordan Petaia, the Wallabies attack really missed the experienced playmaker. Fans still praised Petaia for his impact, but he doesn’t offer the same skillset.
The visitors played an exciting brand of rugby in the first-half, and while there were glimpses of this in the second, they struggled to develop momentum against a side that only grew in confidence as they game went on. If these fans reactions are anything to go by, then To’omua’s absence was a large reason as to why they struggled.
— Mr Shifter (@SecretChimp) October 18, 2020
Young team, a lot of growth to occur. They need time under pressure. Strong start, but with the loss of @mtoomua (please heal quickly!), structures fell apart, and Robbie Deans style play kicked in.. fro my uneducated opinion #BledisloeCup
— Mark Drehlich (@MarkDrehlich) October 18, 2020
Toomua a big loss for the wallabies. #BledisloeCup
— Kev Hearn (@Kev_Hearn) October 18, 2020
Probably gonna get lambasted for this, but @wallabies were a bit unlucky. Loss of @mtoomua was huge.
He is all that’s good about the decision making for the Aussie team. It will definitely be game on again in #Australia come 31 October. @MartinMyers @TandoManana @QSompondo
— Francois De Wet (@Couch_Krit) October 18, 2020
— Mr Shifter (@SecretChimp) October 18, 2020
The third Bledisloe Cup fixture will be played in Sydney in two weeks time, where the All Blacks could potentially extend their hold on the Cup for another year. That match will be the first of two matches to be played in Australia, with the second being held at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
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