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‘It was s*** for us’: Wallabies reflect on another loss to ‘special’ All Blacks

By Finn Morton
Wallabies reflect on another loss to ‘special’ All Blacks

When the Wallabies raced out to a surprisingly comfortable 17-3 lead against the All Blacks in Dunedin just over a week ago, the 28,000 fans in attendance were left stunned.

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Other than small groups of Australian fans – who certainly made their voices heard as the Wallabies took control – you could’ve heard a pin drop at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

‘This wasn’t how it was supposed to go,” All Blacks would’ve surely thought. Things hadn’t gone to plan, and the New Zealanders needed a rugby miracle to avoid defeat.

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Enter Richie Mo’unga.

Mo’unga was the understudy to starting flyhalf Damian McKenzie, but the replacement was the hero that Aotearoa had longed for since practically the opening whistle in Bledisloe II.

The All Blacks were trailing by just seven points when Mo’unga entered the fray in the 49th minute. Mo’unga, 29, was practically perfect on that Saturday afternoon – and he needed to be.

Eventually, it was Mo’unga’s right boot that decided an enthralling Test between two great rivals.

Mo’unga kicked the match-winning penalty goal inside the final minute, and the All Blacks hung on for a hard-fought 23-20 win. The victory secured a sweep of the two-match Bledisloe Cup series.

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As for the Wallabies, who were leading by 14 points inside the opening 10 minutes, they were left to rue another missed opportunity. The Aussies could be proud of their efforts, sure, but were still winless after four Tests under coach Eddie Jones.

“It was a hard one,” Wallabies prop Angus Bell said on YKTR’s Ebbs and Flows.

“I felt like the first forty minutes was so much fun aye. That’s probably the most fun I’ve had played a footy game in a long time.

“If you’re winning as a team, it’s unreal… obviously it’s against the All Blacks in Dunedin. All they do down in Dunedin is play footy, it’s all rugby so the atmosphere was unreal.

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“We had so much going for us and they just chased us down.”

Young Angus Bell replaced former Wallabies co-captain James Slipper in the Australian starting side ahead of Bledisloe I, and retained his spot for the following Test in Dunedin.

Bell, if he isn’t already, is quickly becoming one of the best loosehead props in international rugby. At just 22 years of age, Bell has shown that he’s worthy of the ‘world-class’ moniker.

Another player very much on the rise is electric winger Mark Nawaqanitawase – otherwise known within the Australian rugby community as ‘Marky Mark.’

Nawaqanitawase experienced the Bledisloe Cup rivalry for first time in Melbourne last month and, like Bell, had the chance to run out again the following week.

“Just seeing the haka, to think that we’re the ones standing there now watching it is pretty special,” Nawaqanitawase said.

“Also the big crowds, how they get around this game, the Bledisloe how special it is, it’s pretty crazy.

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“Versing the All Blacks in the period that they’ve been so dominant… you can see why they’re so special.

“To come back from where they had been, it was s*** for us. It shows you how good they are and we’ve got to step it up if we want to take them on at the World Cup.”

Inside the opening few minutes of this podcast, both players were asked about whether they’ve had any “that’s him” moments against the All Blacks. In other words, had they been starstruck.

Both Bell and Nawaqanitawase had the same answer.

It’s rampaging loose forward Ardie Savea.

“The way he’s been going the last few years,” Nawaqanitawase added. “We’ve versed him sometimes in club but I guess when you put on the jersey, he changes.

“The try-saving tackle he did, I reckon we could have won if we got that. The things he does… goes to show hoe special he is.

“It’s pretty crazy to think we’re going up against him.”

The Wallabies have named a youthful 33-man squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, with 25 players set to experience the biggest tournament in rugby for the first time.

Both Bell and Nawaqanitawase, unsurprisingly, made the cut.

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Comments

5 Comments
P
Pecos 333 days ago

Ardie didn't save the try, Sam did. He reached under, grabbed the jersey around chest level, & flipped him onto his back. Allowing Ardie the soft finish.

G
Greg 333 days ago

Nah. McKenzie was under plan to kick in first half. Did you notice for the first 10 minutes of second half he did not kick? By the time Richie came on, we were only 7 points behind.

J
Jen 333 days ago

Bell and Nawaqanitawase are great players. Nice to see some excellent new guys playing for Straya.

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