Wallabies hooker Folau Fainga’a will be thanking Rieko Ioane for sparing his blushes following sloppy pieces of play from both stars that ended up leaving the All Blacks midfielder red-faced in the closing stages of the first half.
Down by five points as the clock ticked into injury time, the Wallabies were handed a lineout in the middle of the park as they looked to close the gap on their trans-Tasman counterparts before heading into the sheds.
Finding lock Matt Philip from the set piece, Fainga’a wrapped around the swiftly-formed maul to link up with Australian skipper Michael Hooper to find space further in-field.
Looking to suck in the defensive attempt of his opposite Codie Taylor, Fainga’a tried to shovel an inside ball to the charging Marika Koroibete, but the slippery ball forced a spectacular knock on.
All Blacks captain Sam Cane didn’t need a second invitation to scoop up the loose ball, sparking a counter-attack against the run of play.
From there, the loose forward found wing Jordie Barrett, who opened the scoring inside the first 10 minutes, who worked in tandem with Richie Mo’unga to put the Wallabies on the back foot and send Ioane in over the tryline untouched.
To the naked eye, it looked as though the powerful 23-year-old had crossed for yet another try at international level, but a TMO call eventually uncovered that he had inexplicably dropped the ball as he went down for a one-handed dive.
— Sky Sport NZ (@skysportnz) October 11, 2020
The try should have put the All Blacks into a 13-3 lead at the break, but Ian Foster’s men instead headed into the sheds without a double-digit buffer, and it didn’t take long for pundits to explode on Twitter.
— Robert Smith (@OnyaDon) October 11, 2020
— Lyubo Peev (@Lyubo_Peev) October 11, 2020
A wild first half with Rieko Ioane in plenty of the action. #BledisloeCup
— James McKern (@jLmcKern) October 11, 2020
Rieko Ioane it's rugby not NFL. What a Muppet.
— Macnrow (@Macnrow2) October 11, 2020
Idiot @rieko_ioane !
— … (@OGtha3RD) October 11, 2020
And yet again Rieko Ioane's inclination to be a diva bites the All Blacks in the arse. Just ground the fecking ball.
— (((John P Egan))) (@jpatrickegan) October 11, 2020
Rieko Ioane doesn't deserve a halftime slice of orange
— Jarrod Gilbert (@JarrodGilbertNZ) October 11, 2020
Gee that’s really poor from Rieko Ioane to miss that try with no pressure on at all. He’s a great player. But that’s a brain explosion. No need to be so casual and touch it down with 1 hand. Hope it’s not costly.
— Marc Hinton (@marchintonffx) October 11, 2020
The blunder capped off an interesting first half for Ioane, who was later subbed early in the second stanza, after he got away with putting a foot in touch in the lead-up to Barrett’s try.
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