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All Blacks bring Wallabies back down to earth

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The Tri-nations match in Auckland on Saturday saw New Zealand turn around their poor performance in Sydney the week before to inflict Australia’s first loss of the year, and the first under Robbie Deans. The loss has caused a set back in Australia’s campaign to win this years Tri-Nations series, as a win would have put them in prime place on top of the ladder. Now Australia have to head to South Africa in a few weeks  for two games and the Springboks are almost unbeatable in front of a home crowd. 

Saturday’s game saw the Wallabies on the back foot for most of the match, a position New Zealand had been in only a week earlier. As Channel 7 commentator Gordon Bray said during the match, it looked as though “the two teams had swapped jerseys from last week”. The All Blacks were dominant at the breakdown as well as set pieces, which translated into a possession advantage the Wallabies could just not overcome. With captain Richie McCaw leading, the New Zealand pack simply ran over their Wallaby counterparts and caused much disruption to Australia’s inside backs. The pressure they, along with Dan Carter’s kicks, put on Wallaby scrumhalf Luke Burgess, caused further disruption to Matt Giteau and Berrick Barnes’s playmaking abilities and suddenly Australia’s attacking ability was shut down.

The set pieces were also disappointing for the men in gold. The scrum, which had really held its own in the first two Australian matches of the Tri-Nations, was constantly on the back foot. Australia also lost 8 of their line-outs, which is really costly against a team like the All Blacks who thrive on turnovers. Presumably this will mean the end of pairing George Smith and Phil Waugh together as the lack of a third line-out jumper had a huge impact on the game whereas the playing of two open-side flankers did little to neutralize Richie McCaw’s work at the breakdown. 

The outcome of Saturday’s game has really opened up the Tri-Nations series. Although South Africa are third on the table, they have 3 games with a home crowd advantage, which is always important when it comes to the Tri-Nations. The next match of the series will be on 16/08/08, when the Springboks host the All Blacks in Cape Town.


Final Score:

All Blacks 39 (Ma’a Nonu 2, Tony Woodcock 2 – tries; Dan Carter – 2 conversions, 5 penalties)

Wallabies 10 (Adam Ashley-Cooper – try; Matt Giteau – conversion, penalty)


Written by Dale Weber

Tuesday, 5 August, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Posted in Rugby

Tagged with , ,

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