The Mighty All Blacks dismantled a hapless, directionless Australian side at the ANZ Stadium in Australia, writes Benedict Chanakira
The All Blacks looked to not even get out of second gear as they looked to continue their rugby dominance. Wales looked like they gave the All Blacks a far better challenge than the World Cup finalists.
With the series whitewash against the English still fresh in their minds, the sad news of Christian Lealifano and the poor Super Rugby season from the Australian sides the Wallabies crumbled down as they got a TRANSTASMAN LESSON in rugby once again.
Their last five test outings exposing their forward pack and lack of balance in approach as they continue to rely on a play maker at inside centre and a weak forward pack. Glimmers of a revival under Ledesma have long since been forgotten as they continue to suffocate at scrum time.
The only area Australia dominated was the missed tackle, turnovers, line outs lost, tackles made and missed to mention a few of the unwanted dominations.
The Wobbling Wallabies will be hurting after that thumping. They weren’t good enough. The loss of both inside centre options, a vital cog in their style of play, a leader, and several more injuries and you can realise this was a horror show.
A non-functional set piece which included a line out which saw the home side lose three of their own throws despite pinching one of the All Blacks’ throws. On one occasion the All Black skipper found himself terrorising whatever jumper went up from Rob Simmons to Michael Hooper.
The All Blacks fared even better as their scrum proved solid as they outmuscled the Wallabies.
The All Blacks played their usual high tempo game, despite a few errors, mis-timed kick offs; their willingness to keep shifting contact points and getting the continuity going left the Wallabies in abyss.
There were several scrappy moments in the match but it was evident Michael Cheika will need to go back to the drawing board as he prepares his side for the return fixture in Wellington. Based on today’s result, he will be hoping they lose by far less points. Their chances of winning in the cake-tin are very slim.
The set piece will be the first area of concern. If fixed they will be able to limit the amount of damage the All Blacks can do. With their own ball, they are ruthless- however off turnover ball they are even more ruthless. It has proved the value of the set piece in Test rugby and they will have sent a few shockwaves to their opponents.
The All Black defense was also solid and this was an area the Australians failed miserably as they looked to employ a rushed defence which failed miserably. The rush defence requires great line speed with effective first time tackles. Both not executed by the home side.
It was their ability to turnover ball that was a highlight with David Pocock (7) the chief tormentor. Unfortunately they failed to retain this possession or use it adequately. A lack of their usual prowess with basic skills and their nature of running with ball in hand from everywhere futile.
The world champions are up and running and confirmed their status as favourites to reclaim the Rugby Championship from Australia. Are they unbeatable? No. A side that will have their defensive systems in order, a strong and reliable set piece and clinical attack will succeed.
That was not evident in the first round of the Rugby Championship. The mind games, bugs and growing tensions between the teams was settled with a resounding All Black win.
The injuries and defence will worry the ARU and the fact they have to share a coach with the Brumbies does not bode well. A decision has to be made as to what course of action must be taken for the benefit of the national side.
The Australians have a long road ahead, a talented pool at their disposal and soon, rather than later Cheika will have to rebuild the Australians and return them to their former glory.