Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Why the Wallabies will win multiple Bledisloe Cups before 2027

By Finn Morton
Australia line up for the national anthem during the match between New Zealand U20 and the Junior Wallabies at NZCIS on May 29, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

After more than 20 years of Bledisloe Cup pain, angst and frustration, there finally appears to be a golden light at the end of the tunnel for the Wallabies.

ADVERTISEMENT

For Australian rugby supporters, this tunnel has appeared never-ending – but each and every year, thousands of gold-wearing fans pack out stadiums in their droves.

Inspired by promotional clips of John Eales kicking that famous match-winning penalty in Wellington, and Radike Samo’s stunning try in Brisbane, a nation masked by a sense of optimism holds their breath.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Looking to rewrite history by ending decades of agonising defeats, the Wallabies and their fans dare to dream of Bledisloe Cup glory.

But time and time again, year after year, the All Blacks continue to stamp their authority over their neighbouring ‘big brother.’

Fans in their early twenties have never seen a Wallabies captain hoist the prestigious Cup in triumph. Some may have even grown up questioning whether it’s even possible.

But there’s hope.

Change is coming, and it’s impossible to ignore any longer.

While it’s easy to focus on the here and now – with New Zealand continuing to dominate the Bledisloe Cup and Super Rugby Pacific – a changing of the guard awaits.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Junior Wallabies stunned the ‘Baby Blacks’ with an incredible 34-26 win in Wellington on Monday.

But calling it an upset doesn’t fit the bill – it’s not an adequate description anymore. That was the latest in a series of inspiring performances from the Australians.

Coming up against a New Zealand Under-20s side which boasts genuine star power, including All Blacks Sevens talents Payton Spencer and Cody Vai, the Australians came to play.

Spurred on by captain Teddy Wilson and hat-trick hero Ronan Leahy, the Junior Wallabies avenged last year’s disastrous defeat to New Zealand during the Oceania Championship.

But with some of the same players in the squad, including skipper Wilson, coach Nathan Grey has transformed this team – and they’ve still got so much development left, obviously.

Best of all, they did it with an under-strength side. The likes of Tom Lynagh and Max Jorgensen are unavailable due to their Super Rugby Pacific commitments, and Darby Lancaster has only just returned from Sevens World Series duty.

Without arguably their best players, they beat New Zealand on their own track.

Incredible.

This team would be frighteningly good at full strength, and the rugby community will get to witness such top-tier potential at the World Championships in South Africa later this year.

Before that forgettable loss on the Sunshine Coast last July, the Junior Wallabies won their most recent trans-Tasman clash a few years earlier in 2019.

With future Wallabies Angus Bell, Lachlan Lonergan, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Mark Nawaqanitawase and Noah Lolesio in the starting side, Australia ran away with a convincing 24-nil win on the Gold Coast.

To beat New Zealand in rugby is one thing, but to hold them to zero is a completely different ball game. Looking at Test level, the All Blacks haven’t been held to naught since the sport turned professional in ’95.

It’s unheard of.

The New Zealanders, which included future Crusaders star Cullen Grace, were left stunned. There’s a photo online of the players standing in sheer disbelief – the match hadn’t gone to plan for them.

Related

Later that year, the Australian Schools and U18s ended a long-lasting drought against their New Zealand rivals with a four-point win in Hamilton.

That team included current Reds centre Josh Flook and Force flyhalf Reesjan Pasitoa – both players are gifted with talent, and could very well be Wallabies sometime in the future.

But by far the most intriguing member of this team is Sydney Roosters flyer Joseph Suaalii, who has signed with Rugby Australia from 2024. Suaalii will soon be back, and will certainly be both ready and eager to haunt New Zealand once again.

The takeaway from these results is simply this: the Junior Wallabies are better than their New Zealand counterparts, and they have been for quite some time.

Even the Wallabies are getting closer – losing to the All Blacks in a controversial Test at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium last year.

It isn’t all doom and gloom for the national team anymore.

But let’s go one step further.

These results only matter if these young players can back it up at Super Rugby level and beyond, and so far at least they’ve shown plenty of promise.

As well as the six aforementioned Test stars who played in the 24-point win over the Baby Blacks in 2019, one-Test Wallaby Ben Donaldson was also on the bench.

Donaldson, along with the other six players, are certainly in the mix for the coveted Rugby World Cup squad under coaching guru Eddie Jones later this year.

But beyond these seven players, who alone cannot reverse the unwanted trend of lacklustre performances against New Zealand, there are plenty of emerging stars lighting it up.

Rebels playmaker Carter Gordon has been one of the form players of Super Rugby Pacific this season, and his younger brother Mason was among the standouts during Monday’s Junior Wallabies victory.

As Mason told RugbyPass just last week, the pair have an “unbelievable connection” – there’s no doubt that they can be the Australian version of the Barrett brothers.

If they only had a brother who plays lock, then the set would be complete.

Along with the Gordon brothers, the Rebels have also signed Australian sevens star Darby Lancaster.

Since the Vancouver Sevens earlier this year, 20-year-old Lancaster has certainly been one of the best players in the Australian team – if not the best at times.

Lancaster will be a Wallaby within two years, and a good one at that – at least that’s this journalists’ opinion.

Then there’s the likes of Tom Lynagh, Rob Valetini, Len Ikitau, Jordan Petaia, Max Jorgensen – the list goes on and on and on. These are genuine world-class talents.

On top of all that, including the forwards who formerly starred for the Junior Wallabies, don’t forget about the code war Down Under.

Suaalii has put pen to paper with Rugby Australia, and Brisbane Broncos enforcer Payne Haas could be on the way as well. Whether or not they’re the only ones remains to be seen.

Call it the Eddie Jones factor.

Players want to play under him, there’s no doubt about that.

Everywhere the new Wallabies coach goes, he tastes some level of success.

Jones coached the Wallabies to a World Cup final in 2003, and did the same for England 20 years later – beating the All Blacks en route to the decider both times.

But more impressively, the 63-year-old coached Japan to probably the most famous upset in the history of the 15-player game. No one will soon forget the Brave Blossoms’ famous win over South Africa in Brighton at the 2015 World Cup.

With a mastermind coach at the helm, and a golden generation of emerging rugby talent to choose from, then there’s no doubt that the Wallabies can achieve drought-breaking success in the next few years.

The 2027 Rugby World Cup on home soil is just around the corner, which is incredibly exciting for the sport in Australia. Cast aside as nothing more than a fallen giant by many, the Wallabies appear set for a golden tomorrow.

That seemingly never-ending tunnel of pain and despair won’t last forever.

What awaits on the other side might go beyond what some Australian rugby fans could’ve believed was ever possible.

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

8 Comments
J
JB 412 days ago

Here’s hoping the Wallabies do put out consistently good teams. But an alternative narrative would consider players from the outstanding NZ U20s team last year that smashed the junior wallabies. There is still plenty of talent over here, a narrow loss by an under strength team who treated the game as a trial is not as earth shattering as the article makes out.

E
Euan 412 days ago

Fiji doesn't contest the Bledisloe Cup.....

f
frandinand 412 days ago

It would be great for rugby in both countries for the Wallabies to be truly competitive with the ABs. As an Australian I support the ABs when they are playing anyone but the Wallabies.

B
Bruce 412 days ago

It is good that they done well last weekend, and that is coming from an AB's supporter. We all want OZ to be strong but the article failed to mention that NZ were under strength as well, or also that we bet them by 60 odd points last year. Let's see what happens on Saturday before jumping to conclusions.

Also having success at that level doesn't necessarily translate to success at the senior level. Where NZ has a massive advantage is the NPC where players at that age can be developed and learn off older players, I think this is the real difference.

J
John 412 days ago

I truly support the ABs and have lived through the John Eales days. I agree that the Aussies are indeed looking better and for the sake of the game I hope it continues. What the Junior Wallabies have done is great but as stated above they need to go on into super rugby to be tested. However I also feel that the ABs under the soon to be coaching group shall set up for another great era.

G
Guest 412 days ago

Please stop, we got our hopes up after the class of 19 served them the doughnut, look at us now 😂

L
Lewis 413 days ago

Hold on a minute, lets see them win one before saying they will win multiple by 2027😅

G
G 413 days ago

Maybe this year with Foster but after 2024? Nahhh

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

N
Nickers 1 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

15 Go to comments
T
Thomas 1 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

16 Go to comments
FEATURE
FEATURE How can fraying Wallabies maul handle Springbok brawn? How can fraying Wallabies maul handle Springbok brawn?
Search