Almanac Rugby: Bledisloe in the Perth sunshine

For the first time this century a Bledisloe test kicked off with the ground basked in glorious sunshine. In front of a big Perth crowd, the Wallabies and All Blacks played out their third test of the year.


Hoping to put the setbacks of the two tests in NZ behind them, the Wallabies looked enterprising early. The inclusion of Samu Kerevi gave the Aussie attack a bit more venom from the get-go. His cheeky steal from a ruck almost gave the hosts the first try. A technicality of the ruck rule put the kibosh on that early momentum builder.


By the midway point of the first half, the ABs were starting to settle in. A combination of a J Barrett try and B Barrett kicks had them 13 points up. Lolesio missing a gimme 3 pointer at the 27-minute mark was frustrating. Bloody frustrating tbh.


Before you knew it, Jordie Barrett was sent off for reckless contact to Koroibete’s head.  The ABs would be down to 14 men for the rest of the first half and early into the second. The Wallabies rolled the dice on a few plays but sometimes too much so. Valentini’s hallelujah pass when we had made good ground into the 22 late in the half was a bit too adventurous for my liking.


In extra time, the ABs capitalised on an entry into their opponents’ 22. Lineout. Rolling maul. Try. 18 – 0 at halftime.


The Wallabies got the first try of the second half but the visitors hit back soon after. When Jordan Barrett shanked the conversion attempt the ABs were up 23 -7.


Around that critical 60 minute mark, the Wallabies were building pressure only to find it come undone with yet another intercept try. There has been at least one conceded in all three Bledisloe matches this year,


While Kerevi wasn’t able to get reward for his ruck steal in the first half, another recent addition to the squad, Pete Samu, did get it in the second. His pick and go put Nic White over beside the uprights. The ABs hit back quickly, though, with a great move down the right flank. A few minutes later, yet another turnover when the Wallabies were deep in AB territory resulted in another 5 pointer to the visitors. Late consolation try for the hosts.


Final score 38 -21.


It was frustrating that the Wallabies had more clean breaks and more defenders beaten yet were completely ineffectual in converting that advantage into points.


Over the next fortnight, we play two tests against the Springboks while the ABs take on the Pumas. We then get the swap over where we will get a crack at the Pumas while the heavyweight contest of ABs v Springboks caps off the Rugby Championship.


Regardless of the results over the next four weeks, it will just be nice to see some top-flight rugby fill in the gaps left by the inevitable comedown from the end of the footy finals. Perth put on a show, now let’s see what the Sunshine State has to offer. Don’t let us down, Annastasia.


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE



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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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