The selection of Ned Hanigan at blindside flanker for the Wallabies drew plenty of criticism from the Australian rugby public in the leadup to Bledisloe Two, but the 25-year-old has responded with a momentum-shifting break.
The All Blacks were playing with plenty of front-foot ball and momentum, and appeared threatening as they look to build on their 10-point lead. Australia had thrown plenty at their opponents throughout the opening 30-minutes, but they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard until this stage.
The influence of Beauden Barrett and poor discipline from the men in gold saw them trail.
This changed the game.
? Hanigan you beauuuty! Rika with the finish ?
— Wallabies (@wallabies) October 18, 2020
Arguably against the run of play, a 20-metre spurt through the heart of the hosts defence set the game alight with a fast and calculated play.
10 phases into a Wallabies attack, Hanigan broke through tackle attempts from All Blacks captain Sam Cane, and Joe Moody, who left the field with a head knock from the attempt. Running with the ball in plenty of space, Hanigan then drew in the defence of Richie Mo’unga, before passing the ball onto his captain Michael Hooper.
Hanigan then went in and supported Hooper at the breakdown.
The Wallabies then caught the All Blacks short of numbers out wide and made the most of it with a couple of fast phases. Taniela Tupou made some useful metres with a run that also disorganised the All Blacks’ defensive line.
Quick ball from Matt To’omua to Marika Koroibete saw a big gap open between Jordie Barrett and Mo’unga, which allowed the winger to run through from five metres out relatively hassle-free. The five-pointer was the winger’s second in as many weeks after crossing for a try last Sunday in Wellington. James O’Connor converted the try from wide on the right.
The Wallabies went on to trail by just three at the break.
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