Ref decisions baffle Cheika as All Blacks sneak home

Lawrence Cooper
August 27, 2017

The Rugby Championship clash in Dunedin shapes as the most important for the Wallabies this year having lost 54-34 to the All Blacks in Sydney last week, which saw the world champions put one hand on the Bledisloe Cup.

Hooper scored in the 10th minute after peeling off a maul from a 15 metre lineout, equaling Jeremy Paul and Rocky Elsom as the leading Wallabies try-scorers in the forwards. Then Aaron Smith, enjoying a magnificent return to form, followed him on a similar play off the back of another monster scrum by the All Blacks.

"I pat the coaches on the back for that one this week", Hooper said.

Will Genia then grabbed a try for the Aussies before Ben Smith hit back for the All Blacks, who led 26-22 with eight minutes of the match remaining.

The New Zealand Herald asked - albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek - whether the Black Ferns, the nation's women's rugby team, could beat the Wallabies in their current shape.

However, Beale gave his side hope of sealing the Wallabies' first victory in New Zealand since 2001 before Barrett completed a slick passing move to score his second try and dash Australia's hopes.

With only three minutes left, the All Blacks regained possession from the kickoff and scrumhalf T.J. Perenara, flyhalf Lima Sopoaga and captain Kieran Read combined to create the winning try for Barrett.

The All Blacks have retained the Bledisloe Cup for a record 15th straight year, but the Wallabies have restored faith in Australian rugby.

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Is that more luck or the added pressure from the Wallabies?

The final ten minutes were tense, as the Wallabies valiantly held off 22 phases of All Black attack before some brilliance from Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie unlocked Ben Smith out wide to swing the lead back to the home side with five minutes to go.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believed poor decision making by the Wallabies at the death cost them the game.

"Any of that stuff does not excuse in any way us not finishing that game off".

"Australia played well, they were given opportunities and they took them and stayed in the game the whole way through".

"We should have won that game". It's all good but the gallant loser thing is not on.

But once they settled down and made the passes stick they began to make inroads. "We had to dig deep, but those are the games, those little moments and I guess we just got one right at the end there".

"In some ways, we're starting with the hardest task this weekend, but you might as well make a start in the arena you know is going to be the toughest, and keep chipping away from there". In contrast, Foley missed four of six kicks, three of them striking the posts.

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