It’s been an almighty age since the Wallabies held the Bledisloe Cup. Embarrassingly long.
Against one other team (albeit, a very good one), the task is to win more games than you lose. A task that eludes the Wallabies. More often than not, it’s not even really that close.
After the weekend’s performance – a record loss of 38 points – I thought what better way to dwell on the loss than by unpacking the statistics of the 50 Bledisloe Cup matches that have transpired since Australia last had the honour.
These numbers may stoke the flame of the emotions rendered from that match and either make you even more disappointed in an abject Wallabies loss or make you revere the All Blacks in a slightly higher manner, knowing full well that it isn’t just this current young crop that is struggling to match it with rugby’s premier team.
Starting with the basics, from those 50 matches played, the All Blacks have won 39, the Wallabies have won eight, with three matches drawn.
You read that right – eight wins from the last 50 attempts dating back to 2003.
In that time, the Kiwis have amassed 1478 points for an average of 29.56 per match. The Aussies have a much more humble 889 points across this time – that’s 589 fewer points, which is worth slightly more than 84 converted tries. This averages out to 17.78 points per match.
New Zealand just banked their biggest winning margin against us, 38 points, but last year Australia managed their biggest win against New Zealand with a margin of 21 points. This exact margin had been recorded by Australia in the early 2000s, but most impressively, 21 remains the most points by which a team has been able to beat the All Blacks.
However, the All Blacks have beaten the Wallabies by 21 points or more in 13 of their 39 wins. That’s once in every three times.
Furthermore, only two of the Wallabies’ eight wins have been by more than ten points, while 26 of the All Blacks’ wins have been by ten or more. Two in every three matches they win fairly comfortably.
Factoring in how hard it is to beat the Kiwis for any team, I set out to see how often we were competitive but didn’t quite get there.
Looking at the results, only ten of the 39 results saw the Aussies lose by seven points or fewer, which isn’t terrible given how easily the All Blacks can stack on points, but it definitely isn’t worth celebrating.
Further exaggerating that issue is that the most recent bonus-point loss occurred in 2014 and the one before that in 2010. In recent memory, when we’ve been losing, we’ve been losing convincingly.
This gets exacerbated when it isn’t just the All Blacks’ attack that is so dominant, but their ability to defend as well.
The lowest score that the Wallabies have held them to in this period is 12 points, yet that didn’t even result in a win. Australia have been kept to 12 or less on 16 different occasions, including two matches where they failed to register a point.
Plenty of doom and gloom if you’re an Australian rugby fan, but this too shall pass.
It won’t be this year, it may not be next year, but there’s something simmering away nicely in the cauldron that is dying to be unleashed.