Almanac Rugby: 19 in a row

The Wallabies strapped on their boots for another bout at Eden Park on Saturday against their nemesis. While the margin was only two shy of their worst ever defeat to the All Blacks, 57-22, the performance we saw from them was surprisingly heartening. I suppose those of us on this side of the ditch have become so innured to the havoc wreaked upon us each year we look for glimmers of hope anywhere we can find them.



For the 19th year in a row, an AB captain held aloft the Bledisloe Cup. The humiliation for Australian rugby is as raw as ever. Seeking answers to this predicament never seems to get easier either.



The men in black scored eight tries in a convincing win. Most of them were a direct result of errors by the Wallabies, including two intercepts. That level of ill-discipline will be punished and with the ABs a far slicker unit than in the First Test there was never a way back.



The other key stats, however, showed that the Wallabies are improving at the breakdown and their set-pieces are proving to be more incisive. Our back row looked dangerous on several occasions. Hooper and Valetini disrupted the AB defense and set up some great plays.



Tate McDermott played a blinder. His ability to hold up passes or make darting runs was certainly a factor in the Wallabies looking more likely to score when near the AB tryline.



Andrew Kellaway backed up on his impressive performance in the First Test. In just his third cap, he crossed twice. It was fitting that the three tries were shared between him and McDermott.



To the victors go the spoils. The hosts were very impressive. Codie Taylor was a rampaging bullock. Brodie Retallick reminded us all that he is still perhaps the best second-rower in the world. The backline was solid with everyone contributing in a magnificent team effort.



In a fortnight’s time, they will play off in Perth as the Rugby Championship rolls on. The Springboks got on the board against the Pumas. They will play one more Test in South Africa before both teams head this way for the remainder of the tournament.



The Bledisloe may be done but TRC is just beginning. I am confident that the Wallabies will be a better team playing the next five Tests at home. Likewise, my sense is their standard of play will lift throughout those games.



The Rennie-sance may not be producing ‘da Vincis’ just yet but there are a few budding artists wearing the green and gold. The canvas awaits.





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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

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