All Blacks simply too good

Sat, 19 Oct 2013 08:26
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New Zealand remained unbeaten in 2013 when they beat Australia 41-33 in an entertaining Bledisloe Cup fixture in Dunedin on Saturday.

New Zealand remained unbeaten in 2013 when they beat Australia 41-33 in an entertaining Bledisloe Cup fixture in Dunedin on Saturday.

The Wallabies certainly were competitive in this wonderful match between them and the All Blacks.

There were seven tries with a 4-3 split in the winners' favour, and what a great win it was for the All Blacks.

They have finished their season with two of the best matches of the year, beating the Springboks at Ellis Park and then the Wallabies in Dunedin's closed stadium.

It was a wonderful end to New Zealand's domestic season, equalling their own record of 30 successive victories at home, and now they have four November Tests  to make it a perfect year, which, of course, they can do.

The Wallabies certainly saved their best performances for the last game of their Southern Hemisphere season - the big win in Rosario and now this praiseworthy performance in Dunedin.

Not that they looked like winning the match, certainly when they trailed 12-30 and three tries to nil after 37 minutes. They then went on to score 21 points to 11, three tries to one but never really looked likely to overhaul their outstanding opponents.

In that second half the Australian scrumming improved and so did their post-tackle performance.

Before then the All Blacks had scrummed better, won kick-offs no matter who kicked off and ruled unchallenged after tackles. It may have been that the plethora of New Zealand changes with 12 minutes to go was a bad idea.

The experiment of Ben Smith at outside centre was not convincing.

He simply got too little ball to convince that he was in the right place and his only run late in the second half was the sort of opportunity he got at wing or fullback, rather than a centre's performance. Mind you it nearly led to a try as the redoubtable Liam Messam carried it on.

But it was a match of much movement and both teams ended it running back and forth four minutes after the siren had ended. It was a match, it seemed, that the players, however tired, did not want to end.

It was not as if there would be a holiday after this. They get a week off and then march up north.

After Messam had led the All Blacks in their kamate haka, Matt Toomua kicked off and the Wallabies started with great enthusiasm as Sam Cane knocked on the kick-off and Israel Folau broke brilliantly till tackled by Israel Dagg.

The first scrum (to the All Blacks) was a mess and Kieran Reid was penalised. While some spectators booed, Quade Cooper, wise kicking on the day was brilliant, goaled - 3-0 after three minutes.

There is a horrible penalty in rugby - the one where a player who does the instinctive thing and is penalised for being offside at a knock-on. It happened to Ben McCalman when Peter Betham knocked on an unsympathetic pass. But Cruden's kick was laughably poor.

However, from the subsequent line-out the All Blacks attacked. They came left where Israel Dagg sucked in Stephen Moore and Adam Ashley-Cooper before sending Julian Savea over on the left. Cruden proved that he can kick by goaling the conversion - 7-3 after 10 minutes.

Twice after this the Wallabies came on the attack and the referee played a penalty advantage. Cooper sent a dropped goal soaring between the uprights, sparking the greatest outbreak of booing for the match - 7-6 after 16 minutes.

Rob Simmonds knocked on the kick-off, Tevita Kuridrani suffered the horrible penalty and Cruden made it 10-6 after 17 minutes and then 13-6 five minutes later when Michael Hooper was penalised for collapsing a maul. Cooper kicked a penalty and then the All Blacks came within an ace of scoring a try.

They had not always used turnovers well, three times kicking them away, but this time the forwards took over and McCalman's tackled at the line saved a try. Aaron Smith picked up and darted but Cooper tackled him into touch. The Wallabies cleared to touch, but from the line-out Cruden kicked a perfect diagonal which unmarked Savea caught on the full. He played inside to Dagg who stumbled as he got away from a tackle. Dagg passed inside to Cane and McCaw's replacement scored at the posts - 20-9 after 30 minutes.

Soon after this Cane was penalised at a tackle and Cooper made if 20-12 after 32 minutes. Two minutes later the Wallabies had their first scrum of the match and were penalised -  23-12 after 34 minutes.

The All Blacks went wide left where forwards did great three-quarter imitation with their catching and passing and then they went right where Dagg played inside to Messam who ran strongly and then gave inside to Cruden who scored a splendid try - 30-12 after 37 minutes.

As half-time loomed Toomua dummied and broke. Dagg tackled him but the Wallabies won quick ball and Cooper threw a brilliant pass to Ashley Cooper and the right wing was over for a try in the left corner. Cooper converted from touch and the half-time score was 30-19.

Already it was a wonderful match.

The All Blacks started with many passes till Ma'a Nonu slippered through a short grubber. Folau was forced to carry over and, not for the first time. Hooper was penalised - 33-19 after 43 minutes, at which stage Brodie Retallick replaced Jeremy Thrush who had performed really strongly in his first Test start.

Back came the All Blacks on attack. They were going right with Savea in from the left wing. He passed and Kuridrani intercepted and the powerful man set off downfield. Ben Smith caught him but the Wallaby popped a pass to Toomua who came round behind him and Toomua scored his first try in a Test match - 33-26.

The All Blacks won their own kick-off, the Wallabies were penalised and the All Blacks kicked out for a five-metre line-out. There were three such line-outs in the match, all of them unproductive.

From a turnover the All Blacks went passing on the left and then went wide right where Read scored - 38-26 after 55 minutes.

Beauden Barrett replaced Cruden and chipped. The Wallabies got the ball, Kuridrani broke and a penalty gave the Wallabies a five-metre line-out but the conceded a scrum when their maul was static a second time.

Saia Faingaa was penalised at a tackle and Barrett goaled - 41-26.

Ben Smith had a run and the Wallabies made another five-metre line-out out of a penalty. This time they went wide left and again Cooper threw a long pass, but this time it was forward and into touch.

Then it was Cooper's turn to kick a diagonal. Folau went up and caught it despite the presence of defenders including Dagg. Folau worked his way infield and Kuridrani crashed over between Nonu and Tawera Kerr-Barlow for a try - 41-33 with three minutes left.

The Wallabies looked better in that time as Folau broke and prop Sekope Kepu went on a startling run.

Man of the Match: Israel Folau, Tevita Kuridrani and Quade Cooper were outstanding for the Wallabies. Charles Piutau, Aaron Cruden, Liam Messam and Sam Cane were outstanding for the All Blacks and so was our Man of the Match Kieran Read.

Moment of the Match: Both those diagonal kicks that led to tries, with Israel Folau's catch the greater feat.

Villain of the Match: Nobody at all, not even nearly...

The scorers:

For New Zealand:
Savea, Cane, Cruden, Read
Cons: Cruden 3
Pens: Cruden 4, Barrett

For Australia:
Ashley-Cooper, Toomua, Kuridrani
Cons: Cooper 3
Pens: Cooper 3
DG: Cooper


New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Tom Taylor.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Nic White, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Bernard Foley.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)