All Blacks win 27-16 vs the Wallabies.
Tom Taylor is rated 4th in the Number 10 jersey in New Zealand and had to step up to make his debut as our starter when successive injuries ruled out our top 3 first-five eighths: Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett. It was almost silly. A high pressure entry into international rugby, but Tom did a great job and we came away with a “W”.
Once again, Aaron Smith outshone Australia’s Will Genia, someone who he rates as the best scrum-half in the world. That’s two games in a row Aaron! And Ben Smith scored two more tries. That’s twenty five points in two games! Kieran Read also had a really impressive game. Amazing how much talent the All Blacks have.
Steven Luatua, making only his second start as an All Black (his third game), plays with authority and punches holes in the Walllabies’ defense. Impressive. But not as impressive as his charge through multiple defenders and almost reaching the try line. In doing so, he was isolated from support from the rest of the team. Steven released the ball as the Wallabies wrestled with him so that he could legally get to his feet and buy precious seconds by picking up the ball again and forcing the Wallabies to tackle him a second time. By that time, Steven’s team mates had arrived in position to launch a fresh assault.
Ma’a Nonu didn’t have his greatest game. He was playing with an injured ankle. He did, however, continue a trend of stupid actions like shoulder charging a Wallaby (and getting away with it) and kicking the ball at times when he should have run with it. I like to think I have some objectivity and I know not all the All Blacks are angels on and off the field. Players like Andrew Hore, Julian Savea, Izzy Dagg and Nonu have had lapses in the standards that, in my book, being national heroes and role models requires of them. Dagg had a great night except for this awful slip up which allowed Israel (popular name all of a sudden?) Folau to take his intercepted ball all the way over the try line, gifting the Wallabies their only try. That’s how crappy Australia’s offense was. They could not engineer any tries of their own making. It just came down to luck in the end.
James Horwill, captain of the Wallabies tries hard, but once again will have to front to the media why Australia lost to New Zealand. He has more experience brooding in front of the media than anything else lately. I almost feel for him.
The losing team. Australia need to play some lower tier teams to get their confidence back. The All Blacks have something like a 85% win ratio against them in the last 3-4 years, maybe higher!
Tony Woodcock played his 100th game for the All Blacks, joining Richie McCaw, Mils Mulianna and Keven Mealamu as All Black centurions. Woody was instrumental in the 2011 world cup final when he scored the All Blacks’ only try.
Richie once again raised Rugby Union’s biggest trophy, the Bledisloe Cup above his head. That’s 11 consecutive years now. Liam Messam and understudy Steven Luatua filled the cup with beer (it can hold 46 cans worth).
Richie McCaw was in a great mood after the All Blacks thumped the Wallabies yet again. Cruden, however, couldn’t hide his disappointment as he moped sadly in the background, injured and unable to be a part of the night’s victory.