Bledisloe 1, played on the patchy turf of a run down looking ANZ stadium, threatened to turn into a massacre. As it was, it was merely a run of the mill bloodbath. The writing was on the wall from the haka. The All Black’s clearly meant business as they chose to perform the Ka Mate, as opposed to Kapo o Pango.
The Wallabies had a steady first 3 mins and even managed to score first through a Foley penalty. From that point on, it was all fairly clinical from the All Black’s. The Wallabies defence was woeful and disorganised. There was no consistency in the formation and the matchups changed at practically ever set piece. What is clear is that the direction and training needs to change and there needs to be a change in combinations in the centres if we are to improve.
Kerevi is an exciting attacking prospect, but Kuridrani is far more organised and solid in defence. This becomes important if we are to persist with Beale at 12 and Foley at 10. Then again, why not bench Foley, shift Beale to 10 and give Hodge a run at 12.
Another problem area for wallabies was the breakdown. What Cheika is thinking playing 3 flankers and no genuine jackal is anyone’s guess but it can’t continue. If he wants McMahon in the team he should play him at 6 and bring Lopeti Timani in as a genuine 8. Timani had an immediate impact on the game, even if the AB’s had checked out of the match.
It was worth noting that the Wallabies bench appaeared more threatening than the run on 15. Phipps moved the ball quickly. Timani constantly got over the advantage line and Kuridrani was clever and consistent in defence.
What of NZ then? What’s to say? They have made the transition well from the team that took on the Lions. They will be a bit disappointed at the amount of points they let through in the 2nd half, but it will give them something to work on. McKenzie is a star in the making and Crotty is the quite achiever.
All in all things look bleak for the Wallabies and the Red Cross better stock up for Dunedin.
Chase your kicks.