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It’s not all doom and gloom for the Wallabies

Will Genia should spend most of the tour on the bench. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Roar Pro
21st August, 2018
15

As the Aussies stare down another Bledisloe series defeat, they should take heart from the flamboyant French, who recently showed that the Kiwis can be unsettled – even at home.

The Wallabies must approach this game with the ferocity they displayed in the Sydney loss and hope that fortunes go their way in opportunistic moments.

While the 38-13 loss looked like a hiding, the Aussies had the required arsenal to match it with the mighty All Blacks but let themselves down at crucial stages in the second term.

The Kiwis were forced into an uncharacteristic brand of rugby, which made them look vulnerable throughout, making the margin of victory flattering. Take away the opportunistic moments that changed the course of the match and the scoreline would have been much tighter.

Plenty of work is needed in the Australian scrum and lineout, which caused the most amount of damage by turnovers, but the Wallabies played a well-orchestrated brand of rugby drilled on foiling opposition pressure. As such, they were able to change the visitors’ strategy to scrambling in defence, rather than employing their renowned skills when they have control of a contest.

In fact, the All Blacks struggled for fluency in the first half because of the Ausrtalians’ relentless defensive effort, resulting in an uncharacteristic morass of mistakes.

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In contests such as these, two committed halves is the required minimum, but alas for the Wallabies, their fiery first half appeared to have sapped their momentum and the resultant stream of basic errors caused the blowout.

Michael Cheika’s men must ensure the lapses are rectified but also expect a more committed effort from Steve Hansen’s side.

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The All Blacks for their part can review this as a wake-up call to the closing gap between themselves and the hungry pack in their wake.

Returning skipper Kieran Read made a difference by tightening the defence to near what it used to be and stifling many a threatening counterattack.

It all points to a riveting series if the Wallabies can overcome their Eden Park hoodoo, where they have not tasted success for 32 years.