So far this season the Wallabies have let themselves down in just one, sometimes two facets of the game. Tonight, they fucked every single one. The scrum, lineout, breakdown, kicking, discipline, running, passing; all sucked. It was only an average defensive performance that kept them anywhere near the match.
The heroics in Brisbane were catalysed by some towering leadership performances, where men went out to make the difference – like Polota-Nau with his tackling. This week they sat back and seemed to hope “the pattern” would do it all for them. It’s a simple lesson, when will they learn it?
Most disappointing was the lack of will to compete. No challenging at the line-out. No challenging at the ruck. The scrum was soft and the only guy who can run straight in the entire team is Adam Ashley-Cooper. The result of everyone sitting back waiting for someone else to “do something”.
It’s a disturbing mental fragility that was epitomised by James O’Connor. There’s a very strange thing going on in his gelled teenage head when he plays the All Blacks and tonight it translated into a simply shocking performance. You can only think for the sake of the kids confidence Dingo didn’t end it early. However, if this is true, what does it say to the team (and supporters)? O’Connor’s ego is more important than winning?
Again Joubert was happy for the All Blacks to pretty much do anything at the breakdown. But you have to say that at least they were there and putting in an effort, rather than fanned out as decoy runners in front of backs who continue to throw bullet passes above and behind players at head height. One thing tonight proved was that the backline’s problems have nothing to do with Burgess’ or Ginea’s service from 9. They go way deeper than that.
A lot has been written this week about the great position the Wallabies are for the 2011 world cup, with a an average age of 24, yadda yadda. At this point in time, all we have is a team of young chokers. Best demonstrated, when at somehow still only 19-6 down in the 70th minute, camped on the NZ line with an opportunity to pull a rabbit out of the hat, they came away with nothing.
Deans rightly pointed out that in Wellington it was down to the Wallabies to prove whether they have developed and grown, or whether Brisbane was purely a blip. Tonight we got the answer.
Final Score: New Zealand 33 – Australia 6
For New Zealand:
Tries: Jane, Nonu, Rokocoko
Cons: Carter 2
Pens: Carter 4
Yellow card: Toeava (NZ – 29th min – High tackle)
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 John Afoa, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Rodney So’oialo, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Hosea Gear.
Australia:15 James O’Connor, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Will Genia, 8 George Smith (c), 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 James Horwill, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Quade Cooper, 22 Peter Hynes.
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Weather: Clear skies, still 10°C
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)