The first Bledisloe Cup game did not go to plan for Michael Cheika and his men last night, with the All Blacks proving too good yet again.
The Kiwis showed their class in the second half to pull away 38-13 winners. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from the game.
By far and away the best player on the park last night. He was everywhere for the All Blacks and showed what the Wallabies are missing. Retallick matches Adam Coleman’s physicality but it doesn’t end there.
He has the skills of a backrower and even showcased a nice show and go to beat Bernard Foley and score his try. For the Wallabies to have any chance next week in Auckland the All Black second rower must be stopped.
The young centre ran for 129 metres from 11 runs last night and proved a challenge every time he carried the ball. Goodhue manages to fly under the radar for both club and country and reminds me of Conrad Smith.
He provides the glue for the star studded All Black backline and he very rarely put a foot wrong in both attack and defence last night.
One definite plus that came from the Wallaby performance last night was Jack Maddocks. Probably the only reserve that had an impact on the game from an Aussie perspective, Maddocks was great when he came on with 87 run metres from just five runs.
He offered a lot more than Dane Haylett-Petty on the wing last night and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start in Auckland.
The Wallabies had a lot of chances last night but weren’t clinical enough. They held the ball for multiple phases a few times on Saturday but struggled to convert into points.
When they got into the red zone they looked a little lost and the All Blacks were able to knock them back several times.
Their handling was also not great at key times which never helps. The All Blacks on the other hand were clinical every time they got the chance. They moved the ball quickly and took the opportunity for points when they appeared.
Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Tom Robertson received a touch up last night. Not just at set piece but also around the park. They were far less effective than their All Black counterparts who all enjoyed good games.
To make matters worse Taniela Tupou was ruled out after an injury during the captains run. This was significant for the Wallabies who seriously missed his impact off the bench. It will be interesting to see the make-up of the front row for Bledisloe 2.
Wallaby set piece
The Australians struggled at both scrum and lineout time losing several of their own ball through penalties or loose throws. The poor scrum performance had re-opened the questions that surrounded the Aussie scrum going into the Irish series.
The All Blacks could move the Wallabies as they pleased. The lineout was just as worrying with countless throws missing their targets and resulting in scrappy or lost ball. The set piece will no doubt be worked on an awful lot before the next game and hopefully a huge turnaround is seen.
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Ryan Crotty suffered a nasty head knock early in the game which left him knocked out. This is Crotty’s sixth head knock in the last 15 months and will most likely see him miss a significant amount of rugby.
It could even signal the end of his career. For the Aussies Israel Folau limped off with an ankle injury after attempting the jump for a high ball. The Wallabies have already conformed Folau will miss the next Bledisloe with a small muscle tear in his ankle.
Although they expect him to be good the Springbok game in Brisbane, Folau is a huge loss for the Aussies and his injury will provide some interesting selection debates with Tom Banks, Jack Maddocks, Dane Haylett-Petty and Kurtley Beale all having a case for the 15 jersey.
Waisake Naholo should have received a yellow card for his tackle on Israel Folau in the fourth minute of the game. Unfortunately for the Wallabies it was only judged to be a penalty offense by referee Jaco Peyper, who believed “he was just a bit late.”
The controversial call probably didn’t have a huge effect on the game but it is annoying to still see such inconsistency especially considering how much the refereeing was debated during the June series.