The Wallabies have lost 27-19 to the All Blacks in a miserable and mistake-ridden performance in Sydney.
It was only two tries to one but the scoreline didn’t reflect the match. The All Blacks left three or four tries on the park and were much more dangerous in attack and rock solid in defence.
Australia weren’t in the game during the first half, it looked more like an opposed training run for New Zealand, who had almost all the ball and controlled the pace of the game completely.
While the ABs looked dangerous, they let the Wallabies off the hook with some poor execution at crucial times.
The Wallabies couldn’t capitalise. They were impatient and got white line fever a couple of times once they were down 10 points after 20-odd minutes.
The ABs crossed the line first with an Israel Dagg special. Dagg was everywhere and deservedly won the official man-of-the-match award.
Cory Jane scored the All Blacks’ second try after a scrum from a disastrous Kurtley Beale knock-on. SBW was a decoy runner and the backs just ran around the Wallaby flank.
From there the Wallabies were playing catch-up and never really looked like taking the lead, let alone the game.
With just a minute to go in the first half, a try to Nathan Sharpe gave the scoreline some respectability and provided some hope of a second half resurgence.
Sharpie crashed over after sustained pressure and half-breaks from Berrick Barnes and Digby Ioane. It was simple, direct and fast and it worked.
Barnes and Carter started the second half trading penalty goals and the Wallabies produced more controlled rugby in both defence and attack.
While there was more composure and patience from the Wallabies, execution and a couple of unlucky calls stopped them whenever they started to look threatening.
The ABs made breaks often enough but the Wallaby defence held, and poor passes and knock-ons kept the Wallabies in the game.
There were some positives for us and while they were well and truly outweighed by the negatives they’re worth mentioning.
Nathan Sharpe was impressive at the lineout and was constantly trucking it up in centre field. In an average bunch, Sharpie gets the G&GR Man of the Match award.
He partnered well with Timani who made some good runs and tackled well when he wasn’t in the blood bin.
Genia had a good game, as did Ioane, but the bright spots were few and far between.
The centre pairing of Horne and Faingaa shut down Sonny Bill but that left space for Dagg, Jane and Gear to roam.
Kurtley Beale had a shocker and simply hasn’t had enough game time. It’s obvious he was there for the X-factor and slotted in at first receiver a lot but he was simply underdone.
After the game he tweeted ‘Worst performance in my career ever!!! #FACT #plainandsimple.’
The Wallabies back rowers outplayed by their Kiwi opposites and David Pocock was heavily and effectively targetted.
The second half showed both teams to be more than a little rusty and short on game time.
Full time came with a penalty to Dan Carter after the Wallabies scrum was penalised five metres out.
It’s a sad old story but even though both teams were below par, the All Blacks were still better than the Wallabies at home.
With next week’s game at Eden Park, where Australia haven’t beaten the ABs since 1986, it looks like the Bled might be staying over the ditch for another year.
New Zealand 27 (Dagg, Jane tries, Carter conv., Carter 5 pens) def. Australia 19 (Sharpe try, Barnes conv., Barnes 4 pens)