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‘Not happy with losing’: Valiant Wallabies lose Bledisloe Cup thriller

By AAP
New Zealand players celebrate after winning the Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup Test match between Australia and New Zealand at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on August 5, 2023. (Photo by Sanka Vidanagama / AFP) (Photo by SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Wallabies have added a fresh Bledisloe Cup heartbreak to their lengthy list, throwing away a 14-point half-time lead to lose 23-20 to New Zealand in Dunedin.

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Marika Koroibete and Tom Hooper scored tries in the opening six minutes as Australia dared to dream of a hoodoo-snapping result.

Instead, the same old story – told now for 29 matches and 22 years against the All Blacks in New Zealand – prevailed.

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Debutants Shaun Stevenson and Samipeni Finau scored second-half tries, and with just 60 seconds remaining, Richie Mo’unga kicked a penalty to settle the contest.

The result was a much-improved showing from the Wallabies after last weekend’s 38-7 drubbing at the MCG.

However, the outcome was ultimately the same and leaves the Wallabies with an 0-4 record as they head to France for a World Cup just five weeks away.

“Obviously gutted. We’d put ourselves in a position to win it,” captain Tate McDermott said.

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“Obviously not happy with losing but from where we were last week to where we are now, a massive step up.”

The Wallabies entered the contest as the seventh-least experienced team in the last three decades, and lost more experience still before the first whistle.

Jordan Uelese was ruled out with a knee injury after teamsheets were listed, with Reds hooker Matt Faessler called up for a Wallabies debut.

Despite their freshness, the Wallabies jumped from the blocks, with Koroibete scoring a third-minute try to set the tone.

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Hooper joined him on the scoreboard three minutes later, bulldozing Damian McKenzie for a two-try lead.

Carter Gordon, who wore plenty of criticism for his kicking in the Bledisloe Cup opener, kicked truly with two conversions from the sideline to have the score at 14-0.

The Wallabies were in dreamland, holding out the All Blacks until the break for a 17-3 lead, their first half-time advantage against New Zealand in four years.

It would have been even bleaker for the All Blacks if not for Ardie Savea, who held up McDermott after the flyhalf darted over the line.

Making 12 changes from the Bledisloe Cup opener, New Zealand were unbelievably sloppy, giving away the ball at the scrum and line-outs, missing tackles and dropping catches.

A team befitting the famous black shirt emerged for the second half and Stevenson scored their first try in the 43rd minute, racing onto McKenzie’s long lofted pass.

With half an hour to go, Mo’unga, Aaron Smith and Dane Coles – 252 caps between them – came on and the match was reset as a contest.

Leicester Fainga’anuku thought he’d scored in the 55th minute only for a TMO review to show he’d dropped the ball.

The Wallabies took their turn at blowing easy points soon after when Gordon missed a simple penalty kick, and the All Blacks made him pay.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

4
Wins
3
2
Streak
3
15
Tries Scored
14
49
Points Difference
-4
5/5
First Try
3/5
3/5
First Points
3/5
4/5
Race To 10 Points
3/5

Playing more directly, Finau barged through under the posts and the Wallabies had lost their lead after an hour in front.

Still, there was life in the contest.

The loudest noise of the afternoon came from Quade Cooper’s introduction, and they booed louder still when his penalty tied the contest at 20-20 with seven minutes left.

The 28,265-strong crowd cheered even more when Cooper knocked on in the 77th minute, before the afternoon’s defining play.

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Comments

8 Comments
P
Pecos 343 days ago

Good ole Quade, 78mins dropping the pill, gifting us a scrum penalty option to win the game. Which we did. Legend.

W
Willie 343 days ago

Can't wait for that conspiracy theorist John to blame the loss on Deans and Rennie.
No outside help needed when Jones takes off 9 & 10 and replaces them with predictability [9] and incompetence [10].

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