The Wallabies hopes of winning back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002 are done dusted, after losing to the All Blacks by a record margin in Sydney, scores finishing 5-43.
Injuries to playmakers James O’Connor and Matt To’omua called for the selections of Noah Lolesio and Irae Simone, who were two of the four debutants on Saturday night.
A yellow card to Filipo Daugunu just three minutes in saw the Wallabies play with their backs up against the wall from nearly the get-go. The All Blacks scored six tries to one, and the Wallabies were never really in the fight.
Here’s how RugbyPass rated the Wallabies in both Bledisloe III and the opening Tri Nations fixture.
The All Blacks have ensured the Bledisloe Cup will stay in New Zealand for yet another year after blowing the Wallabies out to hand themselves a 29-5 victory in Sydney. #BledisloeCup #AUSvNZL https://t.co/7IlUkykUk4
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 31, 2020
- James Slipper – 5.5/10
Slipper did his job against the All Blacks, putting in a solid shift. The 31-year-old test veteran was reliable in defence, and his scrummaging performance was also promising at times.
- Brandon Paenga-Amosa – 7/10
One of the Wallabies best on Saturday night. Paenga-Amosa was solid in defence, and around the breakdown as well – earning his side a penalty in the 51st minute. Fox Sports Australia commentators sang the hookers praises as he was subbed off with 20 minutes to go, and despite the scoreline, I’d have to agree.
- Allan Alaalatoa – 5/10
A quiet night from the Brumbies captain, who only had one carry throughout his 53 minutes on the field. Did scrum well and held his own in defence, but overall was a quiet night from Allan Alaalatoa.
- Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – 5/10
The second-rower carried with purpose and made his mark in defence and at the set-piece as well. But overall, it wasn’t his best performance in an Australian jersey. Was subbed off in the 45th minute with an injury.
- Matt Philip – 5/10
For anyone who watched Super Rugby AU, the thing that was most impressive about Matt Philip was his work rate. We saw glimpses of that again on Saturday night, but he struggled to make any real impact with the All Blacks in complete control. The 26-year-old only made 5 tackles and lacked discipline at times throughout the contest.
- Ned Hanigan – 6/10
Hanigan didn’t have any standout moments like he did in Bledisloe II, instead, he did most of his work in some of the darkest places on a rugby field. Around the breakdown, he held his own, and also finished the night in double digits for tackles made.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 31, 2020
- Michael Hooper – 7/10
A true captains knock from Michael Hooper. Once again, the 29-year-old was one of if not the best player for the Wallabies, making a game-high 19 tackles. For all the praise that Marika Koroibete rightly welcomed after his try-saving tackle on Caleb Clarke early on, Hooper’s involvement was largely overshadowed. The flankers covering defence slowed down the rampaging winger, and got within millimetres of dragging Clarke’s boot onto the chalk. Throughout the rest of the match, Hooper was constantly popping up by running dummy lines, cleaning out rucks or running with purpose.
- Harry Wilson – 5.5/10
Wilson’s work rate is elite, and we saw that again on Saturday night. But even though he tried his heart out, the 20-year-old struggled to really get anything going. Was one of three Wallaby players to reach double figures in defence though.
- Nic White – 6/10
White was clearly frustrated throughout the test; nothing really seemed to go right for the scrumhalf or his side. He had a moment to forget early on when he was stepped by All Blacks prop Karl Tu’inukuafe, who ran 10 metres to cross for the opener. Soon after, Dane Coles snuck in front of him and so nearly scored what would’ve been the All Blacks’ second of the night.
What did Dave Rennie say at half time?! The Wallabies hit back through debutant Noah Lolesio after a great break by Jordan Petaia ?
Game on in Sydney? pic.twitter.com/Gicabh4mDH
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) October 31, 2020
- Noah Lolesio – 4.5/10
It wasn’t an easy introduction to test rugby for the 20-year-old. Coach Dave Rennie refused to blame the loss on Lolesio or any of the other inexperienced players, saying that Lolesio “didn’t get a hell of a lot of front-foot ball, did he?” Definitely a learning experience for the exciting prospect. For both of All Blacks flyhalf Richie Mo’unga’s tries though, Lolesio was largely at fault. In the first, he was the last line of defence but in a channel that was just over five metres wide, Lolesio struggled to get a hand on his opposite, let alone make a try-saving tackle. Soon after, Lolesio was caught in no-mans land trying to decide whether to attack a Beauden Barrett chip kick or sit back. A simple step off the right foot let the All Blacks 10 runaway untouched. Lolesio did score a try in the 42nd minute, but it couldn’t save the fact that he struggled to gain any form of control over the game.
- Marika Koroibete – 6.5/10
After a mixed performance in Bledisloe II, the 2019 John Eales Medallist started the test in Sydney in fine fashion. Just five minutes in, the winger put a big shot on Richie Mo’unga, when the All Blacks were looking dangerous inside the Wallabies 22. Less than 10 minutes later, his moment of the game came; his covering defence stopping Caleb Clarke from mere meters out. In attack, Koroibete was inches from scoring a try on the full-time siren but Jordie Barrett made sure that that wasn’t the case. Koroibete had a team-high 11 carries for 58 metres.
- Irae Simone – 5.5/10
Another player on debut who struggled to really get anything going. Simone made a couple of low percentage kicks while the All Blacks were down a man, that resulted in wasted possession. Showed glimpses of his playmaking and timing which made him a standout for the Brumbies this year.
- Jordan Petaia – 6/10
It’s almost hard to believe that this was only Petaia’s first start against the All Blacks. The 20-year-old had a quiet first half, but made up for it with a 40-metre run just after the break – Lolesio scored from this. Ran one-metre short of the team-high with limited chances.
- Filipo Daugunu – 6/10
Daugunu spoke during the week about how the Wallabies aim was to kick to Caleb Clarke. A few minutes in, this seemed to backfire for the Wallabies winger, who was yellow-carded for tackling Clarke in the air. But once he came back onto the park, he was one of Australia’s best in many ways. He ran for 56 metres, had two clean line breaks, and so nearly would’ve made something from nothing in the second half had a couple of 50/50 offloads not have hit the deck.
- Dane Haylett-Petty – 5/10
In his eighth test against the All Blacks, Haylett-Petty was safe under the high ball and injected himself into the game at times – but not enough. With such an inexperienced backline, the Wallabies needed to see more of the 31-year-old, who only had six carries and three passes.
- Jordan Uelese – 5/10
- Scott Sio – 5.5/10
- Taniela Tupou – 5/10
The Tongan Thor came on with 25 minutes to play, but didn’t manage to gain any ascendency on the match. Just a few minutes after coming, Tupou was penalised at the scrum.
- Rob Simmons – 5.5/10
A couple of good hits in defence, and was safe at the lineout.
- Fraser McReight – 5.5/10
With 12 minutes to go, the two-time Australian under-20s Player of the Year replaced his mate Harry Wilson to make his test debut. He showed plenty of desire and passion, running with an abundance of energy.
- Tate McDermott – 6/10
In just 20 minutes on the field, McDermott showed glimpses of what he’s capable of. He was sniping around the ruck, and immediately sped up the Wallabies attack when he came on. It would be interesting to see how he’d fare if he’s named to play at his home track in Brisbane next weekend.
- Reece Hodge – 5/10
- Hunter Paisami – 5.5/10
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