Australia haven’t beaten the All-Blacks in New Zealand since 2001, but that was at Westpac Stadium. Eden Park has been kryptonite to the Wallabies for over two decades now. And even if the Tri Nations series loses a bit of edge from the matches on a World Cup year, the rivalry and competition is still there. Too bad the All-Blacks were just too good for Quade Cooper and the rest of his lads to make it a real competitive night in Auckland.
Having the Reds win the Super Rugby season is one thing. Basing your squad on that team, with Quade Cooper in the heart of your plans didn’t work that well for Robbie Deans, again, in the warm up for the World Cup. Cooper’s passing was atrocious and seemed completely out of sync from the rest of his teammates while the All-Blacks, making quite a few changes from the side that walked all over South Africa last week, looked deliberate and like a side that can score a bit more if they just kept pressing the pedal.
Ma’a Nonu and Keven Mealamu’s tries in the first half made you feel there’s no chance for the Wallabies on this day. Add James O’Connor’s terrible match, including a complete choking performance when he had to kick and the Wallabies didn’t have much left. Will Genia was suffocated by a ferocious All Black defense and didn’t get to see any daylight all match. Digby Ioane did have a moment or two to show his speed, scoring Australia’s first try in the second half. New Zealand countered with Sivivatu so quickly many probably missed it while getting up to take another beer from the fridge.
In the final minutes, when it looked like New Zealand weren’t going for the bonus try and all the substitutions were made, the Wallabies were playing for a bit of pride. Scott Higginbotham proved to be a successful one, causing the build up to the Rocky Elsom try, making the final try of the match, setting it at 30-14.
It’s off to South Africa next for both sides, as Australia take on the Boks, who this time will field something very close to their strongest side, while New Zealand have another week to get ready. Expect plenty of more changes in the All-Blacks lineup. I do wish to see some more Cory Jane who had an excellent opener against the Springboks last week. Some SBW would also be nice.
Again, the Tri Nations Series this year isn’t as fierce due to the World Cup following the contest. Still, from a short glance at the games, Australia aren’t ready yet to topple the All Blacks. New Zealand? They look like the best, as usual. It hasn’t been enough for them for over 20 years. Lately it’s the French that get in the way.