'My naive belief was the Wallabies could contest through 60'
A record score against the Wallabies in a Bledisloe, 57 points by the All Blacks, became a demoralising blow for Australian rugby which has made strides under new head coach Dave Rennie.
Under Rennie in four tests last year, the All Blacks won two with the Wallabies winning one and drawing the other.
Heading into the Bledisloe series after a 2-1 win over France in July, the Wallabies were drawn a short straw of sorts after border restrictions forced the first two tests to be held at Eden Park, where the All Blacks hold a formidable record.
The second Bledisloe test remained close at halftime at 21-15, before a critical period just after the half saw Ardie Savea yellow-carded for a ruck infringement and the Australians unable to capitalise.
The Wallabies did not take three points to narrow the gap to 21-18 and then failed to take the lead when they were repelled by the All Blacks.
Despite being down to 14 men the All Blacks were able to strike next after an ill-advised decision by Darcy Swain to compete at the ruck left his side down a man on the blind. Aaron Smith sparked a break down the narrow corridor and put Codie Taylor away for a try.
A long range penalty goal from Damian McKenzie put the lead out to 31-15, past two converted tries, before Sevu Reece pounced on a long cutout pass from Matt To’omua for the second intercept try of the night.
It was the third intercept try of the last two weeks for the Wallabies. One fan wrote the decision-making was ‘questionable’ after a ‘naive’ belief that the Wallabies would compete for at least an hour.
Another considered it ‘probably’ the ‘worst ever performance at Eden Park’, as Australian fans lamented another night where critical moments all went against their side.
I didn’t have high hopes for a win; my naive belief was the Wallabies could contest through 60 before falling away. We were still good in patches, but again failed to turn the screws on the ABs when they were backpedalling.
Questionable decision making under zero pressure.
— Nick Pfitzner (@NickPfitzner) August 14, 2021
Well we’ve been here before. And it will continue until something drastic changes. And for anyone suggesting that the solution is to stop playing the All Blacks or NZ teams more frequently, I would love to see an example where a team got better by playing weaker opposition.
— Gold Digger (@GoldDiggerRugby) August 14, 2021
Probably the Wallabies’ worst ever performance at Eden Park. What a shocker, a humiliation.
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) August 14, 2021
No positives to take from that I’m afraid. Very disappointing. All Blacks many classes above.
— Reg Roberts (@RugbyReg) August 14, 2021
Width, width, width …
No, no, no.ADVERTISEMENT
Wallabies got back in the match through McDermott using his forwards.
Another cut out pass, another intercept try.
— Christy Doran (@ChristypDoran) August 14, 2021
The Toomua one was specially frustrating.
Just lazy, he should know better https://t.co/fpu5VHj9Pc
— Brumbies Boy (@brumby_fan) August 14, 2021
Defence lame at wide channels; Toomua not running straight, kicking away possession and throwing hail Mary’s; Noah poor kicks.
Once again poor kicking and not hanging onto ball. Should have gone for 3 points at penalty early second half… scoreboard pressure isn’t Hooper’s best
— Alastair Walton (@alastair_walton) August 14, 2021
Before the second half blowout, the Wallabies had produced two tries, one through Andrew Kellaway after a cross-field kick with penalty advantage and another right on the stroke of halftime through livewire halfback Tate McDermott.
McDermott had been one of the Wallabies’ best performers, looking dangerous every time he went for a snipe to keep the All Blacks’ honest around the ruck. He was rated an 8 out of 10 by RugbyPass writer Nick Turnbull, who said he made a ‘statement’.
“A brilliant performance and was a threat to the All Blacks all night, be it at the base of the scrum, recycling the ball, and also as a support player. He will be marked up even closer moving forward as he made a statement tonight about the player he is going to be for Australia,” he wrote.
Kellaway was able to score his second try late in the game after the All Blacks had already reached 50, but a final strike after full time to David Havili put another exclamation point on proceedings.
The Wallabies will have to regroup for the third Bledisloe in Perth to avoid a clean sweep, and perhaps consider changing back to a younger midfield after Matt To’omua’s unimpressive night.
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