With an uprising defeat of the All Blacks, the Wallabies Tri Nations win has rejuvenated a contest that had appeared to be unassailable.
Their 40 point turnaround, from the record 38-point margin loss a week ago, was a superb reaction. The swing in favour of the Wallabies was caused by a positive response from the players, coaches, and management.
By beating the New Zealand side 24-22, it gives the side hope that this year’s Rugby Championship; reduced to just the three teams and a Tri Nations tournament, is all to play for. That the Wallabies Tri Nations hopes are far from over. By defeating the All Blacks, now they have an opportunity to challenge for a trophy too many presumed was New Zealand’s to lose.
Not to say they are even or ahead of the visiting Kiwis. New Zealand has both competition points and points scored that sees them with a lead on the standings. Now, with Argentina about to enter in Round Three, it adds in a new challenger and more variables.
TRI NATIONS STANDINGS 🏉 🏆
Match 2 in Brisbane was quite a battle between @Wallabies and @AllBlacks next up @LosPumas take on All Blacks in Sydney…
Full Tri Nations Standings Table https://t.co/6x7JOOYO3D #trinations2020 pic.twitter.com/J9WqfZ8poE
— Super Rugby/Tri Nations (@SuperRugby) November 8, 2020
Reaction from head coach Dave Rennie immediately after the match was guarded. Not overjoyed, as he and captain Michael Hooper recall the 5-43 loss in Sydney. Yet where they were happy was in how the side adapted to the twin-Red Cards and disruption to set play and the original game plan.
40 point turnaround in Wallabies Tri Nations win
“We’re really disappointed with last week. We’re a lot better side than that. We’ve got a good group of men, they’ve been working really hard, and the great thing is we only had to wait seven days for redemption.”
This was a statement that all of the Wallabies players would enjoy hearing. Enjoy the reinforcement from their coach and Rennie followed that up with, “tonight was good, you know we worked hard. We can take a bit of belief out of that, and what we know from the first test we played against the All Blacks [Wellington] and tonight, we know if we’re accurate, if we limit their opportunities at turnover, if we kick well and apply pressure, then we can apply a bit of scoreboard pressure on them.
“That was great but, what we know is that the All Blacks are a quality side. Obviously, we were a long way off it last week, it was great to respond so well.”
— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) November 7, 2020
Asked if he would have accepted winning one game and drawing another, Rennie brushed it off. He declared, “what it tells us is, if we work hard enough for each other, we can get results against anyone – it doesn’t count for much tonight if we don’t back it up in a few weeks against Argentina.”
Michael Hooper confirmed the enormous satisfaction that he and his men felt post-game. “Look there’ve been a lot of challenges thrown at our team throughout the year. So really proud of our guys to show a lot of grit, and build some momentum. Build a score there, and to close it out in the end.”
Score early, and finished off with a flurry
One might say, the win was built around the incidents that occurred mid-game. With two player’s removed from the game and multiple yellow cards, they surely contributed. Yet for a lot of the game, the Wallabies Tri Nations win was based on a strong start and a better finish.
Two minutes into his new role as first-five, regular outside back Reece Hodge placed a sniping kick over the All Blacks backline. Within striking distance of the red zone, the bounce of the ball fell the host’s way, and debutant Tom Wright crossed. Excellent vision and it was exactly what they needed, helping them go into halftime even at 8-8.
Not like the week before. In that match, a yellow card for Australia was earned inside the opening minutes. They went to the sheds 0-26 down after offering four tries to the visiting team. So the two results were worlds apart, and when the Wallabies finished of the game with a flurry, it was the most pleasing aspect of the game.
No meek ending this week. No, thanks to the super-sub Taniela Tupou the hosts had a great response late in the game. Pressuring the red zone yet again, the forwards used quality pick-and-drive technique to maximum advantage. The outcome was a healthy nine-point lead, with just a handful of minutes left.
💥 Starts and ends with big Nela
— Wallabies (@wallabies) November 8, 2020
Yet every rugby fan’s the world over know that ‘this is when New Zealand are at their most dangerous’.
True, they did score one converted try but on this occasion, there was no ‘get out of jail’. And for that reason, Dave Rennie was glowing of his men’s efforts for the 80 minutes. “We saw plenty of character out there tonight. I’m really wrapped with the steel we showed.”
And so are Australian rugby fans. To repair the humiliation so quickly, and with a performance that was good enough that it overcame the imbalance that any red card delivers. Individually, and collectively, this Wallabies side did not roll over and play dead. They played well and should believe substantially more after this weekend’s massive Wallabies Tri Nations win.
Australia v Argentina – Saturday, November 21. McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
“Main photo credit”
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