Australia 13 – 38 New Zealand
In the first Rugby Championship match of 2018, the All Blacks took on the Wallabies at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney. The build-up to the test was suggesting that we could be in for a very tightly contested match. At the break the hosts were leading 6-5 mainly due to some ruthless defence. But as we’ve come to see from the Kiwi side it’s mainly in the second half of their matches that they seem to step up to another level. Winger Waisake Naholo scored a brace of tries for New Zealand within two minutes and helped set up the try for centre Jack Goodhue. If there was any doubt about the form of Beauden Barrett before the match, it has been brushed aside with a masterful performance.
Scrumhalf Aaron Smith scored a five pointer after some brilliant interplay just before the break to put his team on the board. After the break Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett scored tries to break the spirit of the Australians. The Wallabies were competing extremely hard and their defence was superb. Unfortunately if a team struggles with basics in the set pieces, the wheels will come off at some stage. Just after the hour mark star fullback Israel Folau injured his ankle and had to leave the field. After that the wheels came off for Australia. David Pocock has to be pointed out for his effort. He has been superb! The end score 38-13 for the All Blacks.
For New Zealand Ryan Crotty and Rieko Ioane will not be playing in the second test due to injuries picked up over the weekend. And for the Wallabies Israel Folau will not be travelling with his side to Auckland for the rematch.
Australia will have to win the next test in Auckland to keep their hopes alive for the Bledisloe Cup that New Zealand has held since 2003.
By Carl Coertzen – 20/08/18