All Blacks Keep Bledisloe Cup For Another Year

New Zealand v Australia

A sublime performance from the All Blacks has seen the Bledisloe Cup retained for another year, but the Wallabies made the hosts work for the win in parts.

Scoring four tries to win 29-9, Steve Hansen‘s men were challenged early on by the Wallabies. It wasn’t a perfect All Black performance in a penalty-dominated match, but the right decisions were made with try scoring opportunities at hand.

The All Blacks also secured another five competition points towards The Rugby Championship standings, and have strengthened their lead.

When the All Blacks got go forward ball, their execution was perfect. Isreal Dagg scored twice and has solidified his return to International rugby. Dagg had a tough 2015, including a missed trip to the Rugby World Cup, and the Crusader can be chuffed with his current run of form.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read was full of praise for the Wallabies, but proud of how his men ‘put the foot down’ in the second half.

“That was a true Bledisloe test and the Wallabies really came at us tonight. It was never going to be the same as last week, especially against this team. We had to work for it and it was great to get those tries in the second half.”

Julian Savea, got the start this week and took it with both hands. With determination in his eyes, Savea scored one of his best tries of the year in the corner.  Anton Lienert-Brown was impressive in his International debut

After only being in the All Blacks camp for a week, the youngster was smiling from ear to ear after the match.

“I’m lost for words, it was an unreal occasion, but the boys have really made me feel comfortable. They just told me to keep it simple, to make my debut in a game that we win this trophy is something that makes me feel very blessed”.

The young midfielder was encouraged to ‘just play rugby’ during the week, and he certainly did that, and then some at Westpac Stadium.

Wallabies Start Well But ‘Fall Off The Wagon’

After being hammered by their own media all week, things won’t be any better for the Wallabies after this game. It was a ‘game of two halves’ for Michael Chieka‘s Wallabies, and the poor showing after halftime has seen the All Blacks dominance of the Bledisloe continue.

The Wallabies played with the intensity and feeling that had been missing in Sydney. Off the ball, there were more than a few scuffles. A fire was placed underneath them, and they tried to answer those questions. It was the continuity where they were let down again.

Adam Coleman was a culprit of the Wallabies ‘enforcer’ gameplan to get into the All Blacks head. With plenty of time to pull out, Coleman ran shoulder-first into Ben Smith and knocked the All Black fullback to the ground. Referee Romain Poite spotted the incident and sent Coleman to the sidelines for ten-minutes.

While it had the consequence of losing a player, the Wallabies’ plan worked, to a point. Quicker line speed interrupted All Black set plays and disjointed the back line. Discipline cost the Wallabies after scoring points, nine of which the Wallabies scored in the first half.

One three pointer came from a tremendous place kick by Reece Hodge; on International debut. The ball flew well over 60-metres and was dead down the centre of the posts.

But Chieka wouldn’t have been happy with the silly mistakes when defending the kick off. Nor would he have been satisfied with how his side switched off in the second half. It made a mockery of a decent opening to the game. The Wallabies were firmly in contention, only to make some questionable decisions after the break.

Questionable Wallabies Decisions In Key Areas

Isreal Folau, a high ball specialist, disappeared and was replaced by Quade Cooper in his usual position. Cooper couldn’t take the ball, and his turnover lead to Julian Savea scoring the All Blacks third try.

Steven Moore had another poor match as captain, but the veteran hooker said that he was happy with the improved Wallabies performance in the first half.

Our effort was better than last week for sure, but credit to New Zealand. We are going through a tough period at the moment but we have to stick through that.

The Wallabies only managed three penalty kicks in total. One has to wonder where the intensity and line speed on defence went after the halftime break. For a side that were runners up in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the Wallabies have had a horror run ever since.

Struggles in the line out continued. In fact, the Wallabies barely had any time in the All Blacks red zone all match. They never looked like scoring, there was no X-factor, and for all the attitude on show, one can’t help but feel all the praise for a decent first half is now a little meaningless.

Man of the Match: Israel Dagg

In scoring two tries, Israel Dagg made a fine run at right-wing. The selection had been questioned, but Dagg answered his critics.

Israel Dagg (C) of the All Blacks celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship match in Wellington (Getty)

His first try was one of natural positional play, but he was a fine example under the high ball (as he usually is) and was very visible in the opening 40 minutes. The second try was again about finishing, as much as Savea’s try was about his shear bulk. Dagg now has the confidence of the All Black selectors, to secure a place as an outside back for this season.

New Zealand 29

Tries: Isreal Dagg (2), Julian Savea, Sam Cane.

Pen: Barrett (1)

Con: Barrett (3)

Australia 9

Pen: Foley (2), Hodge (1)

All Blacks Keep Bledisloe Cup For Another Year

The Investec Rugby Championship will now take a break for a week, and both teams will get a deserved rest. The All Blacks will host Argentina in Hamilton on September 10th, and the Wallabies will return home for a crucial clash against South Africa.

“Main photo credit”