Rugby is a pretty simple game. But if a team that can’t pass, can’t catch, can’t tackle, and has a dysfunctional scrum plus lineout, then the team is stuffed.
And that’s exactly what the All Blacks did to the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium, last night, stuffing them to the tune of 42-8, their biggest win on Australian soil in 113 years.
And there was no Richie McCaw, Tony Woodcock, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, or Conrad Smith, boasting 605 caps between them.
Mattered not. The All Blacks offered a master class right across the park with halfback Will Genia the only bright spot for the Wallabies which was no mean feat seeing he hadn’t played a game since January,
The script last was in three acts – the Wallabies led 3-0, the All Blacks rattled up 42 unanswered points, before the Wallabies’ sole try near time.
Basically one-way traffic – and all black.
To be fair, the Wallabies’ cause suffered severely with the early loss of Matt Giteau (ankle), Matt Toomua (concussion), and Rob Horne (shoulder) that created positional changes never envisaged.
But there was no excuse for the lack of basic skills.
Any footballer who pulls on a coveted gold jersey must surely have the basics under control, or how did he represent his country?
Wallaby coach Michael Cheika took full blame for the dreadful performance, which was very noble of him.
But Cheika didn’t drop passes, miss tackles, nor fail to feed the lineout properly.
The stats are an embarrassing reminder of the one-way traffic.
The Wallabies lost five of their lineout feeds, while the All Blacks won all their feeds, with a bonus tight head in their six tries to one romp that secured a bonus point.
So there was precious little joy for the gold-clad among the 65,238 crowd.
Next Saturday it’s Westpac Stadium in Wellington for the return Test. The burning question: can the Wallabies regroup after such a shellacking to keep the Bledisloe Cup campaign alive?
It will be a big ask. The Wallabies haven’t won on New Zealand soil for 15 years.
There is a big plus, however, in that the Wallabies can only improve on last night’s performance.