The difference between the All Blacks and the Wallabies

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    It’s almost Bledisloe Cup time, the time when the loyal Wallaby fans again hope to break the drought.

    The Wallabies haven’t held the massive cup aloft since 2002 and haven’t won at Eden Park since 1986 – that was 17 internationals ago.

    A drought alright.

    So why do the All Blacks keep dominating the Wallabies?

    The answer is very simple. Rugby to the All Backs is a religion, but it’s only a social event for the Wallabies.

    Sure the Wallabies have won two Rugby World Cups, but the All Blacks have won three, and more than likely it will be four after Tokyo next year.

    At the Super Rugby level, the story is the same.

    The Brumbies have won two, the Waratahs and Reds one each.

    But the Crusaders, a branch office of the All Blacks, last night won their ninth in 23 attempts and are by far the most successful franchise in the tournament.

    New Zealand franchises won 36 successive Super Rugby games against their Australian counterparts until that streak was broken this season.

    So can the Wallabies break their Bledisloe Cup drought?

    Yes they can, providing David Pocock is captain, that the tall timbers Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold are the locks and are really aggressive, that whoever is the hooker consistently finds his target, that Will Genia successfully returns from missing eight-week with a broken arm, that Bernard Foley’s goal-kicking boot is deadly accurate, and Reece Hodge is the outside centre.

    We can expect Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau to be the flair as the attacking platform on the basis of good controlled ball from up front.

    Then, and only then, will the Wallabies rise from a social event to an international threat, knowing rugby will never be a religion.

    The other key is coach Michael Cheika.

    He’s done battle with the men-in-black nine times, having won the first 27-19 at ANZ stadium in August 2015, and the last 23-18 at Suncorp last season.

    But the problems were the seven clashes in between, all comfortably won by the All Blacks.

    And there’s another on-going problem.

    Only the All Blacks can do it with a string of multi-talented fly-halves who steered the side superbly and kept potting goals from everywhere.

    It started with Grant Fox and his 645 points, followed by Andrew Mehrtens and his 967, then the best of all in Dan Carter with a record 1598, and more recently with Beauden Barrett’s 482.

    But it doesn’t stop there – Richie Mo’unga has surfaced, and there’s every indication he may well turn out to be the best of them all.

    Richie Mo'unga of the Crusaders kicks the ball

    (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

    The 24-year-old is the complete footballer, and he’s only been around for “five minutes”.

    He made his Test debut against France last June, but last night he was the difference in the Crusaders 37-18 win in the Super Rugby final at Christchurch against the Lions, despite blow all possession and territory.

    He set up a couple of tries and landed all seven attempts from all over the park.

    In short, Richie Mo’unga was the ringmaster, and the Wallabies must keep him quiet in the coming weeks.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (143)

    • August 5th 2018 @ 6:55am
      Nick Cross said | August 5th 2018 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      Thanks for the article

      My guess is that Mo’unga will not feature for the ABs in RC unless BB is injured. RM is not an ideal bench option.

      Wallabies need to worry more about competing up front than who is at 10.

      • Roar Guru

        August 5th 2018 @ 7:07am
        Kane said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:07am | ! Report

        He is a viable option if Beaudy starts as Beaudy can cover 14-15. Richie can slot into 10. If Beaudy gets injured then you need a 10. Richie’s your man.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 7:17am
          Jimbo said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:17am | ! Report

          Exactly. Which is why I think he should be the bench option. Before B.B. the All Blacks would for years carry a specialist 10 on the bench. On current form he’s the best first five in NZ rugby and deserves his spot.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 7:29am
        Joseph said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        A “social event” for the Wallabies?
        Are you making excuses already, David?

        • August 5th 2018 @ 7:56am
          Stu said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

          Actually, I think D Lord is spot on with both those terms. That is exactly what it is, for both teams, and the sole reason we lose most games that we shouldn’t. The Nrl is the serious version of rugby here. Union is even today only a semi-serious pursuit here. And it’s the exact opposite for league and union in NZ.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 10:04am
            jameswm said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            Semi serious for who?

            • August 5th 2018 @ 11:16pm
              Stin said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

              +1 jameswm! Semi serious for WHO Stu?

          • August 6th 2018 @ 8:23am
            Paulie said | August 6th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

            Semi serious are very dim view Stu.
            Then does that make league semi serious around the world?

      • August 5th 2018 @ 7:57am
        Tauranga boy said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        They may not pick him but they should. He seems more reliable than BB, just as brilliant. And is a much better goal kicker.

        • Roar Guru

          August 5th 2018 @ 8:39am
          taylorman said | August 5th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          The goalkicking certainly enhances his chances. Anyway, its a great problem to have. With Smith, BB and DMac as ootions for 15 and DMac, BB and Mouaga at 10…who could complain about that?

          I think Jordie needs to focus on FB myself as well, as cluttered though it is. Dont think hes test quality in any other position. He already looks this years casualty…but you never know with Hansen…he sees potential more than form.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 8:49am
            Ruckin' Oaf said | August 5th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

            Yeah poor old All Blacks – their big problem is having too much talent to fit into the team.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 10:05am
              jameswm said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

              There’s only 15 on the field though

              • August 5th 2018 @ 10:13am
                Mapu said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

                Helps to have a killer bench.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 10:26am
                jameswm said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

                15 on the field and 23 in the squad. 24-30 don’t matter.

                It’s nice to have injury cover and competition for spots, but a group with less depth can compete with one with more depth.

              • Roar Guru

                August 5th 2018 @ 10:28am
                taylorman said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

                Hmm, not sure of your logic there. When your having to leave players of class out of either the 15 or 23 your still going to be in a better position than those that arent doing that.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 1:12pm
                jameswm said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

                The point is when they’re all fit, the backups don’t matter

              • Roar Guru

                August 5th 2018 @ 8:22pm
                taylorman said | August 5th 2018 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

                No I dont think it is. But you can think that. 😁

      • August 5th 2018 @ 11:25am
        dopplerman said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        Barret is a better bench option

        • August 5th 2018 @ 1:02pm
          Akari said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

          I’m inclined to agree based on BBBBB’s decline in form since the June tests. He however is a proven 10 at test level and will retain his numero uno status.

          • August 6th 2018 @ 7:33am
            Riccardo said | August 6th 2018 @ 7:33am | ! Report

            If we take this snap-shot in time Akari, this could be a wonderful thing.

            Mo’unga starting and we have already seen how brilliant Barrett cab be from the pine.

            It’s not going to happen tho…

      • August 5th 2018 @ 4:39pm
        Russell Neville said | August 5th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

        Ironically since Hooper got injured we saw a more balanced Wallabies forward pack, with a better captain, more line out options, better pilfering options and a stronger scrum.

    • August 5th 2018 @ 6:58am
      Manc Mike said | August 5th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      David, good article. Agree with many of your points. But would like to stress that we cannot and will not win more than the odd test against the All Blacks with Foley as our 10. It’s not even his problem with goal kicking further than 30 metres. And despite being often criticised for his stats, I think he’s a brave defender whose % are hurt by perhaps being over enthusiastic.

      His huge most glaring downfall is kicking the ball from hand. The game’s changed, but kicking will always be a skill set required by any 10. He regularly misses touch with penalties, but worse is his errant kicking in general play. For most recent example watch the lions semi final. He has got to be the most aimless kicker in the top 10 of international rugby.

      Instead of his kicks releasing pressure, the instead compound it. And it begs the question, why did Cheika rush Toomua in to start in a position he will not play in rather than analyse the potential next crop fully?

      • August 5th 2018 @ 10:04am
        Rob said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        I think your assessment is right. Foley’s distribution, run, goal-kicking and defence are all pretty good, but his general kicking is terrible. The trouble is all other potential 10s are pretty poor at general kicking too, and aren’t as good all-around at everything else.

        10 is the most skillful and important position on the park. NZ have at least 3 better 10s than us, and in Mo’unga they have a guy who is way better than Foley.

        That’s not Foley’s fault – or Cheika’s – so all the parochial hate that gets aired here against them achieves nothing. Actually it turns people who love the game off it, so it’s worse than nothing.

        I agree we need to continue the search for a better 10. Toomua is better at Foley in defence, and then basically the same or worse at everything else. He is probably a better back-up 10 than Hodge who has a huge kick and solid defence but lacks the distribution and run, so I guess Cheika wanted to see Toomua in action again.

        Right now all our fire-power is out wider with Beale, Izzy and Koribete. Distribution matters: we need to run moves to give those guys space and 1 on 1s. That’s why Foley remains our best bet in 10.

        The gulf in class of our 10s is also why we aren’t in the same class as the ABs consistently. We’re still good for an upset in a one-off game like a World Cup, but the Bled isn’t at all likely.

        Here’s a hypothetical: imagine if we had Mo’unga in 10 gold? Would we be 50:50 against the ABs?

        But we don’t: our best is Benard. Go nard.

        • Roar Guru

          August 5th 2018 @ 11:46am
          PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          Toomua has a better kicking game than Foley, a better pass, a better defense, weaker attack, and weaker support player, and poorer goal kicker. Both lack vision and play by the numbers so creativity would be about equal.

          • Roar Guru

            August 5th 2018 @ 12:15pm
            taylorman said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

            Toomuas defence isnt that much better. He can rush up out of sync with others, he can tackle with his head in the way. He can get injured. That is the risk with putting him in from english club to the pace of the bled. He wont be ready for it.

            • August 6th 2018 @ 3:43am
              Manc Mike said | August 6th 2018 @ 3:43am | ! Report

              A serious side note is our complete and total lack of development of 10s through the Schoolboys and U20 teams. Surely some questions have to be asked on why these players are not developed equivalently to their age international rivals; why they are not developed in their schoolboy and age position and why so many have been allowed to slip straight through the Australian system.

              Of the Australian Schoolboy and Under 20 10s in the last decade who have made it playing regular Super Rugby or Internationally they have either been shifted positionally or cut loose.
              Quade Cooper – gone
              Kurtley Beale – moved to 12 or 15
              Christian Lealiifano – only considered as a 12 for Australia
              Matt Toomua – only considered as a 12 for Australia

              And the rest are more painful reading..

              Nick Jooste – Qld Club Rugby!
              Andrew Deegan – Western Force and WA domestic comp
              Ben Volavola – Fiji
              Kyle Godwin – was only considered as a 12 and has now gone to Connacht
              Luke Burton – lost in WA
              Jake McIntyre – playing in France
              David Horwitz – Gone to Connacht
              Duncan Paia’aua – lost to Broncos initially now playing drum roll…12 for the Reds
              Jack Debreczeni…doesn’t appear to be on Cheikas radar

              Simple questions – how can none (NONE) of these players be developed into a Wallaby 10? How can so many who were great at 10 in their age group teams now be funnelled into the 12 position? Can anyone in Australian Rugby explain our lack of development in such a key position.

              And finally, why is Hodge’s name mentioned as a possibly 10!? John Eales could kick a ball a long way and had good hands. Was he wasted in the pack?

            • August 6th 2018 @ 8:26am
              Andrew Kennett said | August 6th 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

              Another worry with Toomua is his tendency to fall further and further back into the pocket when under pressure just like QC, and being under pressure behind the Wally pack is the natural order, at least Foley keeps the attack flat and gives the backline a chance. Beale has his own problem of running across the park crowding his outside runners, when Foley is there Beale is much more likely to stay square. Foley’s kicking out of hand is his biggest problem and the Wallys need to use Beale or DHP when back in their end both for excits and penalties — Hodge can do the penalties but for clearing kicks he takes too long to wind up and hence is too much of a charge down risk.

            • August 6th 2018 @ 8:41am
              Fionn said | August 6th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

              ‘Toomuas defence isnt that much better’

              LOL. This is up there with your best, TMan. Reminds me of that time you informed us that Zach Mercer was a Kiwi league international.

              Suffice to say that I assume you haven’t watched him much, either when he was in Australia or in England.

        • August 6th 2018 @ 7:36am
          Riccardo said | August 6th 2018 @ 7:36am | ! Report

          Foley can be brilliant, a la Twickers last RWC.

          But… if we’re talking about kicking he has contributed to poor exiting from the Wallabies in the last couple of seasons.

    • August 5th 2018 @ 7:15am
      krasnoff of noosa said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      The difference? Unfortunately the Wallabies have a club-football coach who is unable to rise above that level, and continues with a 5/8th who—at best—is at second tier standard and a half-back past his use-by date.

      • August 6th 2018 @ 5:36am
        Sportstragic said | August 6th 2018 @ 5:36am | ! Report

        So who would you put in the team instead krassnof?

      • August 6th 2018 @ 8:16am
        krasnoff of noosa said | August 6th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        How about Jake Gordon for half back?

    • August 5th 2018 @ 7:36am
      flying hori1 said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      The first test in Sydney will be close but I think the ABs will win, they have a very good bench.
      Please no French referee

      • Roar Pro

        August 5th 2018 @ 11:48am
        Melburnian said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        • Roar Rookie

          August 5th 2018 @ 10:00pm
          Kirky said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

          Peyper’s as bad as any French Referee unfortunately! Cards dictate as to who does and doesn’t win these days and these guys love doing it in a Test match, ~ The smug look of ”See I can do this and I’m going to and there’s bugger all you can do about it” when they reach for their pockets. ~ The Old Farts up North who come up with these ludicrous game spoiling rules etc, have sure put a dampener on any game, and I would hazard to say that half of them have never played the game!

          What did Ryan Crotty get a yellow for yesterday?, I couldn’t work it out and have watched that series of events a few times and can’t pick it up!

          • August 6th 2018 @ 9:49am
            Jacko said | August 6th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

            He was the tackler…got up on the wrong side of the ruck and used his foot to nudge the ball towards his own side….Not legal and cynical…YC was a cumulitive thing

    • Roar Guru

      August 5th 2018 @ 7:44am
      rebel said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      ‘like a religion ‘
      Terrible analogy that keeps getting trotted out and not just for NZ rugby. Religions range in size and participation with many non practicing. Rugby is NZs national sport, however it is not the only thing that some like to make out to justify their beliefs.

      • Roar Guru

        August 5th 2018 @ 7:57am
        Kane said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        Agreed, Soccer is the most played sport in NZ.

        My brother and all his friends are soccer players. The difference, they’re all rugby fans. My friends and I all play rugby, but we couldn’t care less about soccer.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 8:36am
          Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 8:36am | ! Report

          Soccer is the most played sport in Australia too, technically. I think it might even be the same in the US.

          But the numbers are so misleading as soccer participation levels decline hugely as people grow older.

          I don’t know about New Zealand, but here in Aus virtually everyone played soccer as a kid.

          • Roar Guru

            August 5th 2018 @ 8:41am
            taylorman said | August 5th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

            ‘But the numbers are so misleading as soccer participation levels decline hugely as people grow older.’

            …and wiser. They soon learn they dont want to be in acting.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 3:01pm
              Akari said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

              “…and wiser. They soon learn they dont want to be in acting.”

              Or is it because it’s not as easy these wise moments to expend too much energy and effort to take a dive and squirm like a Neymar?

              • August 5th 2018 @ 3:02pm
                Akari said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                “during these moments”

          • August 5th 2018 @ 7:29pm
            Baggio said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

            It is technically true more kids stop playing soccer at a certain age, however more juniors by ratio give up playing rugby and afl compared to soccer.

            All sports have huge drop off rates once kids enter high school, but I guess the majority of kids who are average at afl or rugby would rather do something else in their free time other than occasionly getting belted by bigger kids.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 9:14am
        Cynical Play said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        Opening the website of the NZ Herald gives te contents of the site in the following order

        Sport
        Rugby Union
        New Zealand
        World
        Business

        That’s the national masthead. Says it all.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 9:26am
          Jerry said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Not when I look it doesn’t.

          New Zealand
          Regional News
          Sport

          No tab for Rugby Union at all.

          Besides which, Stuff is more read than the Herald website.

        • Roar Guru

          August 5th 2018 @ 10:23am
          rebel said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          Really that is what you are basing your arguement on, a rugby tab? Sorry but I’ll stick to actual experience.
          Besides I said rugby was the national sport, but what does ‘like a religion’ mean. That you are a nonpracticing rugby fan or you are in a niche cult.
          I know where the sport stands in the respective countries, I just don’t need to exaggerate to prove a point.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 11:28am
            Cynical Play said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            you’re impressive. must be hard to get that head through doors

        • August 5th 2018 @ 10:33am
          brian said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          When I was in Perth the first bulletin on evening news was who is injured for the Dockers or the Eagles

          • Roar Pro

            August 5th 2018 @ 1:01pm
            Melburnian said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

            Followed by international news from Canberra.

        • August 6th 2018 @ 8:45am
          Paulie said | August 6th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

          Jerry is correct Cynical play you opened in google go the N Z Hearld website and you will see for yourself. The Brisbane Courier Mail has up to 4/5 pages on league or the local Melbourne papers full of articles on Aussie rules its what you are bought up with as a football code.

        • August 6th 2018 @ 12:05pm
          Puff said | August 6th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

          Cynical, the biggest sport in NZ is recreational fishing it is way ahead of rugby. I don’t even live there?

      • Roar Guru

        August 5th 2018 @ 11:49am
        PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        the analogy of rugby is like a religion in nz is as apt as afl is like a religion in VIC, WA and SA.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 2:41pm
        Jacko said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

        haha I have never had the NZRU knock on my door giving out pamphlets

        • Roar Rookie

          August 6th 2018 @ 11:20am
          piru said | August 6th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Saviour Jonah?

      • August 5th 2018 @ 2:44pm
        double agent said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

        I hope he wasn’t referring to the Anglicans. That’s the religion for people who can’t be bothered to go to church and don’t believe in God anyway!!

    • August 5th 2018 @ 7:47am
      KiwiHaydn said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Other than the first test, the Wallabies weren’t too far off last year. The big difference though – depth and combinations. The ABs used close to 50 players last year, and have test match experienced back up across the park.

      If the Wallabies were to lose Genia, Pocock, Foley, Beale, Hooper or Folau they’d be shot. Let alone if they were hit by multiple injuries to those guys.

      I’d be very surprised if the Wallabies win the Bledisloe back this year, but with a game in Sydney and another in Japan, they’ve got every chance.

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