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Red faces on a black day

New Zealand 22 Australia 0

A dagger in Australia's heart ... Israel Dagg, like last week, was too hot to handle for Australia's defence. He scored ...

A dagger in Australia's heart ... Israel Dagg, like last week, was too hot to handle for Australia's defence. He scored the game's only try. Photo: Peter Meecham

At Eden Park, a capacity crowd - loving every minute of the Wallabies being brutally carved up by the All Blacks butchers - were involved in a red-nose day for charity. But for the Wallabies, the Test degenerated into a dreadful episode of Red Faces.

MATCH STATS

On a hideous night when the Wallabies discovered they are rudderless without their captain David Pocock, they suffered the indignity of being the first Australian team in 50 years not to score a point in a Bledisloe Cup Test.

Poise and power ... All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams towers over Wallabies inside-centre Berrick Barnes.

Poise and power ... All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams towers over Wallabies inside-centre Berrick Barnes. Photo: Getty Images

You have to go way back to September 8, 1962, to find the last time the Wallabies finished with a big fat zero, when beaten by New Zealand 3-0 in Dunedin.

So there goes the Bledisloe Cup for another year, and the defeat intensifies the serious doubts over whether Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will last much longer in his position - because his long run of losses against the All Blacks is becoming overwhelming.

Making it much more infuriating was the Wallabies never looked as if they were going to break their duck. They could not get the ball, and on the few occasions they did, nothing eventuated because they were so rattled by spending endless minutes trying to stop wave after wave of All Blacks' chargers.

A yearly ritual ... All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw holds the Bledisloe Cup.

A yearly ritual ... All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw holds the Bledisloe Cup. Photo: Getty Images

The All Blacks were only average last week, and picked up their act last night. So the Wallabies, shackled by injuries and indecision, were soon looking for mercy. And without Pocock, their breakdown work became even more pedestrian.

One early consolation was the Wallabies' first-half effort was considerably better than a week ago. That is hardly startling, though, considering what bumbling fools they were in Sydney.

But this time, the Wallabies kept their error rate to a minimum before the break, and showed greater application in midfield.

There was also a welcome dollop of aggression, with Scott Higginbotham wanting to rip the head off any All Blacks forward who came near him, and Sitaleki Timani carrying on from where he left off last weekend by showing he, at least, was not intimidated by his opposites.

There were still enough glaring signs early on to prove that the divide between the two teams was considerable. After cleverly using Sonny Bill Williams and Ma'a Nonu as decoys in Sydney, the All Blacks' centre pairing was far more involved this time.

Williams in particular was used as the ''take-the-ball-up'' merchant, succeeding several times in offloading in the tackle, to ensure the All Blacks were able to enjoy the territorial battle by constantly playing on the front foot.

And that's why the All Blacks took a 9-0 lead at half-time. The Wallabies scrambled well but, eventually, perching too long on their own line was going to pay, prompting three relatively comfortable penalty goal attempts by Dan Carter before the break.

Other Wallabies problems included an over-persistence in kicking. Again they were completely outclassed in the aerial battle, struggling with any high balls that went their way, and finding it near impossible to gather possession from restarts.

Then ill-discipline got them into trouble, with skipper Will Genia sent to the sin bin in the 28th minute for a silly slap-down of an All Blacks ball. Not exactly the greatest example to be set by the new Wallabies skipper.

With it came more leakage of points. Then, straight after the break, the Wallabies fell apart.

Even on the other side of the Tasman, you could hear all the television sets back in Australia being switched off in disgust when the All Blacks, relishing that the Wallabies simply could not get the ball off them, breezed away to a 22-0 lead by the 50th minute. It was sometimes horrible to watch.

The Wallabies' frustrations were there for all to see when, after the All Blacks scored their only try of the match, they made a terrible hash of the restart. The Australian forwards forgot to chase the kick by Berrick Barnes, and it floated across the sideline. Barnes looked at his forwards in disbelief, and then screamed in disgust.

Here was a team that suddenly realised they had again lost the plot, and they were simply inferior to their ruthless opponents.

NEW ZEALAND 22 (Israel Dagg try Daniel Carter con 5 pens) bt AUSTRALIA 0 at Eden Park. Referee: Nigel Owens.

103 comments so far

  • A former Wallaby said to me during the week, "Are they still playing that game"?
    Ha!, sums it up beautifully. Union is finished.

    Commenter
    Grassy Knollington
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    August 25, 2012, 8:25PM
    • I'd rather watch the Wobblies continually lose, than have to watch bogan League.

      Commenter
      TechHead
      Location
      in your base
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 8:37PM
    • So union is finished because Australia can’t beat NZ consistently? What a bunch of spoilt brat cry-babies Aussies have become.

      Commenter
      SteveH
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 8:48PM
    • As if?

      Don't like the game then keep you small-minded-AFL-bred insecurities to yourself and watch something else.

      The Wallabies will get the All Blacks another day.... probably after they punt Robbie Deans!

      Commenter
      bear54
      Location
      The Outback
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 8:53PM
    • A one eyed and unfounded statement.

      What other form of football offers the diversity of Union? The round ball code is mind numbing at best and the less said about the 13 man "game" the better.

      Commenter
      JW
      Location
      Syd
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 9:17PM
    • You are so right - there is nothing wrong with being second in the world - unless you openly say it is your goal for the year to rule the sport..oh yeah that's right! We did!! Damn our big Aussie mouths!!

      Commenter
      shano303
      Location
      Tokyo
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 9:31PM
    • Union still getting up your nose, under your skin, then is it mate????

      Commenter
      James
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 10:21PM
    • The all blacks weren't that good tonight and if they played half decent would have beaten us by 50+. We were just awful. How can Barnes, Horne, Ashley-Cooper, et al get a run over reds and brumbies players who actually put in an effort this year? Anyone who saw the reds v waratahs game in the last round of super rugby will tell you how poor and uninterested the waratahs were and we reward them by selecting them in our national team! What's worse is that Deans does not seem to have any game plan whatsoever. We need a new coach and a new attitude of selecting players who deserve it, not just those from the biggest province. We don't have the same depth as NZ but our best team still has the ability to match them, we just need to to pick our best team and give them a game plan. The sooner Mackenzie is elevated the better.

      Commenter
      ninjaP
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 10:37PM
    • Who plays League ? It's so boring.

      Commenter
      Farmer
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 11:39PM
    • What the Australian Rugby union fraternity just don't realise is that the game has been on the slide and it is still going south. There is no direction going forward. No real stars with exciting personality and pozaz. No connection to local communites. Full of jobs and opportunities for who you know not what you know. Cancer is set in! Take alot to tidy up as alot of the well knowns are in on it. Robbie Deans is the best thing that has come to this country in terms of coaching pedigree. Crusaders tell you everything about this man and the shabby Australians he has been left with. Truth hurts. Just in case you get emotional about this, it has spread to all other sports as well in Australia including Basketball, Soccer. Elitist sports going backwards. A couple of the Mums and dads are happy though.

      Commenter
      Andy
      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 11:57PM

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