Category Archives: Bledisloe Cup

Rugby Championship 2014 – New Zealand vs Australia, Auckland

All Blacks win 51-20 vs Wallabies

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Where do I start? This was one of the best games of rugby I’d seen in a long time! Of course, that’s from the point of view of an All Blacks fan.  The Wallabies were for the most part pretty unimpressive.  Eight tries in a game, six to the All Blacks!  That’s remarkable, and so is the final score of 51-20.  To put that in perspective, the All Blacks beat Japan last year in Tokyo by 54-6.  It’s the highest score by the All Blacks against the Wallabies ever recorded, and the second highest points difference.

Anyway, here are my highlights…

Richie McCaw was sent to the sin bin very early on in this game, at that point where you weren’t yet sure how close of a game this was going to be.  However, the guy comes back on and scores two mirror image tries from line outs!  Two god damn tries in one game!  Richie continues to be a machine.

All-Blacks-lock-Brodie-Retallick-going-close-_3194316Brodie Retallick monstered his way through five Wallabies, dragging three down over the line with him for a try! Well, actually the ref ruled that he was held up.  I think the ref was wrong, though I had the benefit of video replays.  Either way, Brodie looked like a god out there.  I instantly thought of Colin Meads as he powered through the gold jerseys.  This guy is amazing.

We have no short supply of amazing. Aaron Cruden had what many are calling his best game in the number 10 jersey.  I’ve always been a fan of Crudes, and I remember a lot of very polished performances from him over the last couple of years. Games both at the international level, and in Super Rugby, like the playoff against the Crusaders last year where he had the better of Dan Carter.  In fact, I think the All Blacks were so so good on Saturday night that some of my focus was taken away from Cruden.  However, who could miss his break down the field that led to Savea’s try?  Or his over the head basketball pass?

All-Blacks-captain-Richie-McCaw-after-scoring_3194355Ryan Crotty punched through holes in the Wallabies defense and delivered great offloads. I thought he was awesome and very trustworthy in the number 13 jersey.  It’s really bad news for Crotty to have received the cheek bone fracture and to miss the second half. He now misses four weeks of rugby when he might have had a chance to start against Argentina and strengthen his claim.

Julian Savea made himself a real nuisance to the Wallabies, scoring a try and almost recovering a loose ball after a mad scramble inside the Australian 22 all on his own.  He was pretty impressive.

So were the All Black forwards.  The scrums were great, and the one that carried across the Wallabies try line led to that rarest of awards,  a penalty try!  The whole forward pack earned that try collectively.  A huge personal achievement for the entire team.

 23/Aug New Zealand v Australia Auckland 7:30 PM  51-20

Rugby Championship 2014 – Australia vs New Zealand, Sydney

Awful!

Draws should not be allowed in International test rugby.  Neither of the teams, the spectators, or the home viewers left that match anything buy unsatisfied, pissed off and frustrated.  Neither side had ANYTHING to celebrate.

Yes, the rain contributed heavily to mistake-ridden play, and I’m not going to fault the players for struggling with a slippery ball and pitch, but to blow the whistle with no winner is unacceptable to me.  If the show must always go on, rain, hail or hurricane, then at least make all that work count.  Sports games aren’t played for draws, they are played to be won or lost.  Take the game into extra time.  International games can’t be allowed to fall flat like that.

Maybe I’m just pissed that even when the All Blacks are playing badly, I felt in the back of my mind that given just a few more minutes we would have won that game and could have moved on.  Instead both the Wallabies, and more crucially the All Blacks’ winning streaks have come to an end in the same game!

Oh, and Crockett got a yellow card.  I had joked with Leanne the week before that Crockett would be sin-binned AGAIN.  I was sure of it the moment he was named as the starter to replace the injured Tony Woodcock.  Crockett seems like a nice enough guy, with strength and commitment, but when he came on as a substitute against England in June it was only a few minutes before he was looking sluggish and getting pinged by the ref for supposed scrum infringements.  Whether those yellow cards are deserved or not, Crockett has become a liability due to the reputation he has with the referees.  Do you press on and keep using him, knowing that those yellow cards will likely keep on coming?  How can you take that risk when it puts the All Blacks down to 14 men for 10 minutes?

Sadly, Keven Mealamu had some wonky line out throw ins.  He has a fantastic history in the black jersey, but it’s time to break Nathan Harris, or someone, into the role of secondary hooker.  Keven looks like he could pack it in real soon and that leaves the relative newcomer Dane Coles as our most experienced hooker.

16/Aug Australia v New Zealand Sydney 8:30 PM  12-12

2013 Bledisloe Test 3: All Blacks vs Wallabies @ Carisbrook, New Zealand

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All Blacks win 41-33 v Wallabies

The All Black machine continues to plough on through opposing teams.  Among those with an unstoppable motor is Sam Cane who gave one of his greatest performances so far in the Number 7 jersey.  Israel Dagg also rediscovered his form, making some amazing breaks with that big grin he always seems to wear with ball in hand.  Aaron Cruden may have started with a botched kick, but the rest of his kicking game, both at the posts and into the hands of Julian Savea were outstanding.  Crudes even scored for a try, bringing his personal haul to 23 points in this match.

185342230_3021003A lot of All Blacks shone throughout the game, which is exactly what fans want to see.  From Brodie Retallick’s performance, coming in from the bench early in the second half, to Sam Whitelock, Kieran Read and Ma’a Nonu on defense.  Read scored yet another try, proving how dominant he has become.  Nonu lifted his game, saved a try and covered well for, an at times, struggling Ben Smith.

I was particularly thrilled to see Charles Piutau make such an impressive showing on his first start.  He tackled with authority and was a big part in snuffing out a Wallabies offense that tested the boys in black.  Piutau came in at the eleventh hour as replacement for injured Cory Jane and proved he deserves future starts.

While the Wallabies played really well, at least one of the tries was literally handed to them by an overconfident Savea.  Even so, this is the highest score the Wallabies have put on the board against us in New Zealand.  Fortunately, our own attack was sharper and we made fewer silly mistakes.  Quade Cooper even looks like he’s improved, though nothing will warm me to him given his past history.  However, good job to the Wallabies for being willing to play and produce an enjoyable 80 minutes of rugby.  Good luck on your Northern Tour!