All Blacks show Wallabies how to win
The 2012 New Zealand All Blacks again showed the Wallabies how to win Test matches in tight situations.
The All Blacks won comfortably, yet with frugal possession of only 40%. To put it another way, the Wallabies had 50% more possession, and lost.
The Wallabies made 91 runs for 467 metres. The All Blacks made 63 runs for 478 metres. This can be explained by the Wallabies missing 21 tackles of those attempted (30%) while the All Blacks missed 11 from 95 attempted (11%).
Further, the Wallabies ran sideways when they ran. Finally, the All Black defensive line speed was brilliant. Will Genia repeatedly threw long passes to the midfield forward pod.
On at least three occasions, the All Black defence arrived before the Wallaby clean-out. The defenders put the ball carrier on the deck, and then tried to get the ball before he wanted to play it. Penalty!
The possession translated into lopsided statistics on the critical matters such as rucks/mauls (Aust: 73, NZ: 48), tackles (47-84), phases (83-74).
However, the All Blacks still scored two tries to one.
Again they schooled the Wallabies. In the sixth, ninth and 13th minutes, the All Blacks launched attacking plays of 14, 26 and 42 metres. In the same period, the Wallabies made one 16-metre attack and one attack that went 14 metres backwards.
The All Blacks scored in the 16th minute play with a simple but classic extra-man play using the fullback. Coming from deep, and in from the middle of the field, Dagg’s speed allowed him to ghost around the back of the dummy runners onto the wing.
The dummy runners had committed the two Wallabies defenders by running straight then stepping back inside. Ashley-Cooper was deceived, turned inside and left his wing, allowing Dagg to accelerate down the touch line.
Carter was the maestro of this line break. Dagg was the soloist. With a subtle semi goosestep, he left Beale for dead, despite only having three metres between himself and the sideline. Sheer brilliance and an ominous warning.
3-3 had become 10-3, then 13-3 and then in the 32nd minute, from a scrum, Cory Jane took a lightening quick catch and pass from Dagg. Although the pass was well above his head, he caught it, and because Beale had allowed Jane to get on his outside, (Beale was defending on the wing), Jane essentially scored unopposed. 18-3. Game over in 16 minutes with 15 unanswered points.
The All Blacks were clever and cunning. They commenced the game showing their hand by giving Sonny Bill Williams plenty of ball. The bluff was set up in the minds of the Wallabies defenders. You could almost hear it. “Oh no. Here comes Sonny Bill again!”
When it counted, he was the decoy and Dagg and Jane were the real assassins who delivered the killer blows.
In effect, the Wallabies had spotted the World Champion All Blacks a 15-point headstart. You just cannot do this and expect to win.
All the pressure that should and needed to be on the All Blacks then came onto the Wallabies.
The Wallabies had to play catch-up, and the All Blacks just needed to wait for mistakes, opportunities, and points to come. They did.
For the Wallabies, Tamani had a cracker of a game and will be sore today. That’s his job. Ioane tried hard and showed that if you run straight and hard, the All Black defenders are fallible. His run to within a metre of the try line in the 38th minute set up Sharpe’s try.
Nathan Sharpe was Nathan Sharpe. He just delivers every time. Higginbotham disappeared and Horne was quiet except for one excellent tackle on SBW. Genia was strong but, with Pocock, received special treatment from the All Blacks.
Barnes returned to type with aimless kicking and several huffing and puffing episodes that would not be out of place in a preschool. Someone needs to explain the concept of a poker face, and the reason why it is used by elite sports and business people.
Beale was sadly appalling. Not only did he fail to bring his x-factor game, he made several glaring and frankly unacceptable mistakes. They proved costly. I watched him in the warm-up and he dropped ball after ball. How can he be “good to go”, as Robbie Deans likes to say, when he hadn’t played for nine weeks?
Overall, the Wallabies have received their regular wake-up call from the All Blacks. This time, after going walkabout for a crucial 16 minutes in the first half, they came back to get within five on several occasions. To their credit, the Wallabies kept on coming.
However, judging by the number of Mexican waves that circled the stadium, the crowd knew that the horse had already bolted.
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