Wallabies deny the All Blacks
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 11:47
Wet weather the decider
Australia denied New Zealand a world record when they held them to a 12-all draw in a wet and dreary Sydney on Saturday.
The great All Black manager, Tom Pearce, once said that drawing was like kissing your sister - an unsatisfactory exercise.
For the All Blacks in wet Sydney on Saturday it was more than unsatisfactory as it was probably positively disappointing.
For the Wallabies it was probably unsatisfactory - an opportunity missed after a dominant second half.
Then there were no tries in a match between two of the most creative teams in the world and there was a huge crowd of 68 627 to watch it. They at least seemed enthusiastic but probably trudged home with an empty feeling of "We could've won". Either of the 'wes' could have won, but possibly more so the Australian 'wes'.
Doff your hat to the Sydneysiders - two crowds of over 60 000, for the Super Rugby Final and now for the Bledisloe Cup match.
The huge Bledisloe Cup was there. The anthems were sung and the All Blacks did their special-occasion Kapa O Pango haka with its extravagant gestures of aggression.
The rain fell and in places there were puddles on ANZ Stadium, which made the match harder to play, and yet both sides started running from the word go. Matt Toomua kicked off and the Wallabies threw in quickly from touch and ran through phases. The All Blacks won a line-out and they too ran through phases.
Bearded Scott Fardy was penalised at a tackle and Aaron Cruden, to sonorous booing, goaled to make it 3-0 after 3 minutes.
When the All Blacks won a turnover off Curtly Beale, Aaron Smith sped down the left but Dane Coles knocked on his inside pass.
Beale missed his first kick at goal when Richie McCaw was penalised but then, from 40 metres out, easily cleared the crossbar when Jerome Kaino was penalised. 3-3 after 11 minutes.
At this stage the All Blacks had had 65% of possession and 68% of territory. They were on top and when Michael Hooper was penalised Cruden made it 6-3 after 16 minutes. Five minutes later he made it 9-3 from a scrum penalty.
The scrums were messy, especially in the second half when no Australian scrum was a straightforward affair. They had three scrums which produced four collapses, four resets and two free kicks. No penalties. It was clear that the referee did not want such a match decided by something as controversial as a scrum penalty.
The Wallabies had chances to get closer on the scoreboard but kept wanting to score tries. They had a penalty in front of the posts but tapped and ran. When Wyatt Crockett stopped them within the 10 metres of a tap and was sent to the sin bin, they opted for a scrum.
Then after Adam Ashley-Cooper broke and Hooper got close, they decided to kick at goal but Beale hit the upright.
Half-time came with the All Blacks leading 9-3.
The Wallabies got on top in the second half but there was too little speed in their game. Only Hooper seemed capable of playing quickly. Part of the problem may have been the languid service from behind the forwards.
Early in the second half McCaw was penalised and Beale goaled. 9-6 after 44 minutes.
From an All Blacks line-out, in a set move, they threw deep and then back to Aaron Smith who burst through the gap in the middle of the line-out but Ma'a Nonu knocked on.
The Wallabies won an All Blacks line-out and chased a long kick to the New Zealand line where Julien Savea saved but when Cory Jane was ahead of the kicker, Beale levelled the scores at 9-all.
Back came the Wallabies but Savea intercepted a Beale pass to give the All Blacks possession. Hooper was penalised at a tackle and Cruden made it 12-9, the All Blacks' only score in the second half.
The Wallabies attacked left, right, left again and right again but Savea and Beauden Barrett bundled Pat McCabe out at the corner,
Barrett cheated at a tackle and was sent to the sin bin. His action gave Beale his fourth penalty goal. 12-12 with 11 minutes to play.
Those 11 minutes belonged to the Wallabies who threw everything at the All Blacks but could not budge the scoreboard. They seemed to be trying to get into a drop-goal position.
Time was up and the Wallabies were penalised in the All Blacks' 22 but the noble warriors from New Zealand tapped and tried to run for victory. They knocked on and a draw it was.
That meant no world record for these grand All Blacks.
Man of the Match: The conditions were tough but there was one player that they seemed not to affect - lively, energetic, creative Aaron Smith, our Man of the Match.
Moment of the Match: The scramble for the ball on the New Zealand line when Julien Savea prevented a try.
Villain of the Match: Nobody at all. It was an honourable match with not even an angry glance.
Pens: Beale 4
For New Zealand:
Pens: Cruden 4
Yellow cards: Wyatt Crockett (New Zealand, 39 - professional foul, cynically killing the ball), Beauden Barrett (New Zealand, 69 - professional foul, cynically kicking the ball back from the wrong side)
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
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