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‘We’re heading the right way: How the All Blacks ‘put teams to the sword’

By Finn Morton
New Zealand's Mark Telea runs with the ball during the Rugby Championship and 2023 Bledisloe Cup match between Australia and New Zealand at Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on July 29, 2023. (Photo by Martin KEEP / AFP)

With just over a month to go until the upcoming Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have made another statement with a 38-7 win over fierce rivals Australia at the MCG.

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Playing in front of more than 83,000 people at the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground, the All Blacks pulled away from a valiant Australian side in the second half.

The Wallabies were the better team for the majority of the openside term, but they couldn’t convert their pressure and dominance into points.

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Holding a slender two-point lead, flyhalf Carter Gordon missed a seemingly routine penalty attempt that would’ve changed the game. It proved to be a costly error against the All Blacks.

The All Blacks took control as Codie Taylor and Will Jordan crossed for quick tries before the half-time break. But the best was yet to come.

Mark Telea helped inspire the All Blacks’ second-half point-scoring blitz. The winger scored a try, had an assist, and ended up breaking nine tackles as he ran for almost 130 metres.

After walking off the field and down the tunnel with The Rugby Championship trophy in his hands, Telea spoke with reporters about the importance of remaining patient on the rugby field.

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“I think we’re really good when we’re patient and we keep the ball in hand and I guess we put teams to the sword when we go that,” Telea said.

“When we do too much, other teams get a look at the ball and then we’re getting penalised, and that’s just footy at the same time.

“I guess it just comes back to us understanding where we’re at in the game and listening to our game drivers.”

The All Blacks have won all three of their Test matches in 2023 so far, which included other wins over Argentina and South Africa.

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Clearly, a year is a long time in Test rugby.

New Zealand were beaten by Ireland, South Africa and Argentina last year, but the All Blacks have turned things around in a big way ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France.

“Massive, it’s massive,” Telea added. “This year we want to set a goal and I feel like we’re achieving it, we’re heading the right way.

“We’re just slowly ticking them off. I feel like we’re heading in the right direction, we’ve just got to keep heading that way.”

Telea was sensational during Super Rugby Pacific this season, and the electric winger has carried that form into the Test arena.

Lining up on the left, and with in-form winger Will Jordan on the other, the All Blacks have some world-class outside backs at their disposal.

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But that doesn’t mean that Telea has cemented his place in the All Blacks’ starting side.

“Not settled at all, every week is a different challenge.

“We’re all competing for positions here. I guess for myself I can’t get complacent.”

The All Blacks take on the Wallabies again next weekend at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium. That’s their final Test on New Zealand soil before heading to Europe for the World Cup.

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7 Comments
j
john 353 days ago

The Wallabies are improving dramatically each game. An awful lot of hopeless Rennie coaching to undo but it's very exciting to see them starting to evolve.

f
frandinand 353 days ago

I'm not sure if Carter had got that routine penalty kick it would have changed the game. Perhaps you can enlighten us.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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