The first Bledisloe Cup test of 2021 went the way of New Zealand, who beat Dave Rennie’s Wallabies 33-25 at Eden Park earlier today (August 7, 2021). Here are our talking points from this NZ v Australia Rugby Union Test.
Early lineout issues hurt Wallabies
New Zealand made a slow start- they conceded four penalties before earning their first one. Unfortunately for the Wallabies, they were simply not able to take advantage because of their lineout functioning poorly, with knock ons, crooked throws and other errors hurting in the opening quarter of the game.
Wallabies lineout improves later in the game
Following their early lineout woes, the Wallabies, to their credit, attempted to mix and match up things. Two of their tries actually came from moves following a lineout- the first one with a long throw to centre Hunter Paisami, who evaded the tackle of Richie Mounga and found Andrew Kellaway on his shoulder, and the second to replacement hooker Jordan Uelese following a decent maul.
But to beat the All Blacks, you need to be at your 110% throughout the game- especially in the basics, and the Wallabies unfortunately werent.
Noah Lolesio kicking doesn’t help Wallabies cause
Lolesio came into this game with the reputation of a fairly solid kicker, but struggled here at Eden Park, only nailing 2 of his 7 attempts. A couple could be put down to the gale at Eden Park in the first half, but an international kicker has to be better. In the end, both New Zealand and Australia scored four tries each- the difference was due to Mounga’s superior goal kicking.
All Blacks superior before and after interval
NZ lead 9-8 at the interval, but kicked for the sideline just before the interval after earning a penalty, and were able to rumble over from close range. They also scored a fabulous end to end try after the interval, initiated by Mounga from his own 22, which was ruled out because of a forward pass from Aaron Smith to Brodie Retallick in the buildup. Mounga however had the last laugh with a crucial intercept pass as the Wallabies were attacking to make it 23-8, and two more quickfire tries afterwards ended the game as a contest.
All Blacks concede three late tries
Australia scored thrice at the end after the All Blacks had emptied the bench, twice through Tom Banks and once through Uelese. The game was done and dusted at that point, but the nature of those tries would’ve been a matter of mild concern to the All Black coaches and one they’ll look to rectify next weekend.
Aaron Smith 100th test
Smith joined the likes of Gregan, Genia, Youngs and Troncon in the list of scrumhalves to reach the 100 cap mark, and produced a fine individual performance to help the All Blacks triumph over the Wallabies. The half back is now the 10th All Black centurion.
Samisoni Taukei’aho a late replacement for Dane Coles
Coles was originally named in the 23, but withdrew just minutes before the game, and Samisoni Taukei’aho, wearing Jersey 26, earned a cap off the bench at Eden Park.