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New Zealand vs Australia
The Rugby Championship, 26 August, 2017
|Forsyth Barr Stadium|
|Fulltime - New Zealand 35, Australia 29|
|Referee: Nigel Owens|
|Touch judges: Wayne Barnes & Andy Brace|
|TMO: Rowan Kitt|
The All Blacks yet again retain the Bledisloe Cup, but this time, they were made to work against a Wallabies team that turned up eager to make history after last week’s disastrous loss.
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New Zealand 35
Can the Wallabies bounce back from last week’s Bledisloe Cup shellacking and restore some much-needed pride when they tackle the All Blacks in Dunedin? Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 5:35pm (AEST).
Fresh off another one-sided pounding at the hands of the All Blacks last week in Sydney, the Wallabies are expected to fail to keep another Bledisloe series alive.
For a nation with a proud history at World Cup level, the Wallabies are playing like a team in complete awe of their trans-Tasman rivals – indeed, every top Test team has done a better job of competing against one of the greatest professional sporting sides of all time.
The British and Irish Lions defended superbly to knock off the All Blacks in Wellington last month, while Ireland defeated New Zealand in the US last year.
Throw in the tough performance of Wales, and Argentina’s competitive showing for 50 minutes or so in last season in New Zealand, and there is enough evidence to suggest that the All Blacks can be challenged if teams simply show up with the attitude to play at a level befitting the Test arena.
As great as the All Blacks are, the Wallabies’ level of play is at an all time low. Poor wins over Italy and Fiji, coupled with last week’s disaster against the Kiwis are unacceptable for a team of Australia’s standing.
Critics and pundits can talk tactics and defensive structures all day, but Australia’s problem lies in attitude. They are unacceptably lethargic for a professional team consisting of (supposedly) the finest rugby players in the country.
If the Wallabies ever hope to secure another Bledisloe series win, they need to fight at the breakdown, and this is obviously where David Pocock is sorely missed. Without him, and the recently injured Adam Coleman, Australia will struggle to establish any presence.
The end result is Aaron Smith easily servicing a backline whose efficiency with the ball is second to none.
The Wallabies possess the quality required to challenge the All Blacks – indeed, it took a special Dan Carter field goal deep into the second half of the 2015 Rugby World Cup final to win, after Australia threatened to overcome a big deficit.
Australia simply has to observe the crest on their jersey and realise a simple truth – the Wallabies are two-time World Cup champions. They need to play like it, they owe the jersey that much.
All Blacks by 14.