Just before kickoff of Bledisloe 3, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie called for accuracy and a ‘foot on the throat mentality’ from his team. What he got was another error-strewn collapse, another two intercept tries conceded and yet another humbling 38-21 Bledisloe Cup defeat.
Rennie’s were the final words in a long lead up of waffle and verbal warfare since the match was initally delayed, causing friction between the two unions.
The reality is that the All Blacks proved once again that talk is not just cheap, but irrelevant, come kick off, with their 18th clean sweep, fourth in 10 years and first since 2018, claiming six tries for a TRC bonus point.
“They’ve been ruthless clinical, imperious and shown their depth as well,” said former Wallaby Morgan Turinui on the Stan Sport coverage.
A bloodied Australian captain Michael Hooper was left to bemoan poor execution once again.
“Our turnovers led to mistakes,” said Hooper. “Disappointing we were doing so much good then ending up under our own sticks.
“We have to have more patience with the ball. Loose offloads … we need to be better as a team.”
Rennie said he was happy with the courage and character, but added “we’ve obviously got a fair way to go.”
“It was a frustrating day, created so many opportunities and against the All Blacks if you don’t nail them they have the ablity to go 90 metres and score. We have to be far more clinical.”
The last time the teams met in Perth, in 2019, Australia won commandingly as Scott Barrett was sent off. On Sunday his brother Jordie suffered the same fate, getting a red card for kicking Marika Koroibete flush in the face as he leapt high to claim a kick. It did nothing to derail the All Blacks, helped by a new rule that meant the visitors were only missing a player for 20 minutes.
In Auckland, Australia had received a 10 minute spell against 14 All Blacks, yet conceded 10 points during it. On Sunday, Australia conceded a try during the 20 minutes that their opponents were short a man, slipping behind 18-0 only to score as soon as his allowed replacement, Damian McKenzie came on the field.
That try, from Folau Fainga’a, came soon after Rieko Ioane’s brilliant try saver on Tom Banks and gave the Wallabies a glimmer.
The match had begun encouragingly for the hosts. Samu Kerevi, restored to the team for the first time since 2019, scooped up a ball in a ruck and swept up field. He fed Koroibete who managed to put the ball down, only to have the action brought back for an infringement against Kerevi in the ruck.
The All Blacks kicked the first points through two Beauden Barrett penalites as the visitors’ choking pressure locked Australia in their half.
Jordie Barrett finished off a lethal attacking move in the 18th minute and it was almost 10 minutes later before the Wallabies were able to get into a dangerous position of their own.
A penalty gave Noah Lolesio an easy attempt for three points but he miskicked horribly.
The scowls on Dave Rennie’s face were coming thick and fast, and Australia’s lack of accuracy kept costing them, as hard as Michael Hooper tried to stem the tide.
New Zealand were down a man but had too much class and desire. David Havili crossed right on half time, to send Australia to the sheds having failed to fire a shot.
The Wallabies intensity improved early in the second half as the All Blacks appeared to come out cold.
But after Fainga’a’s try they came back again, Will Jordan ending an excellent atacking move, before another shocking intercept moment.
Another Test, another Wallabies intercept try. ????♂️????
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) September 5, 2021
For the third Test in the series the All Blacks profited directly from an intercept. This time it was lock Matt Philip, out in the back line, whose loose pass was easily picked off by Havili who scooted free for his second.
Again Australia fight back, Nic White scrambling over for a try, but, as it has all series, it looked like the All Blacks merely needed a nudge to turn the heat back on.
Anton Leinert-Brown found joy down the Australian left wing, and then George Bridge crossed to end the Wallabies’ hopes for good, with Tom Banks adding a last minute consolation.