The Wallabies beat the All Blacks 47-26 in Perth on Saturday to boost the Springboks’ chances of winning the Rugby Championship title. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Wallabies’ victory sees them moving one point ahead of the Boks at the top of the Rugby Championship standings. South Africa, however, remain in a strong position to win their first major title in 10 years.
A win or draw with Argentina in Salta later tonight will have the Boks finishing first in the standings and ending their trophy drought. In that event, they may thank the Wallabies for doing them a favour by beating the All Blacks.
The Wallabies deserve credit for the result in Perth. That said, the All Blacks were their own worst enemies and the game was largely shaped by the sending off of Scott Barrett in the 40th minute.
The Wallabies pressured the All Blacks around the fringes and forced the visitors to miss a series of tackles in the first quarter. Reece Hodge scored a stunning try, and yet the Wallabies may have led by more than 16-12 at half time if they had taken the bulk of their attacking chances.
#RugbyChampionship – HALFTIME:
Australia 16-12 New Zealand
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) August 10, 2019
The All Blacks had some luck in the lead-up to Anton Lienert-Brown and Rieko Ioane’s tries. They battled to live with the Wallabies at the gainline, though, spilling the ball in contact and missing routine tackles.
Their discipline was particularly poor, and a reckless shoulder charge by Barrett on Michael Hooper at the end of the first half resulted in the ultimate penalty. Referee Jerome Garces showed the All Blacks lock a red card, and the Wallabies enjoyed a one-man advantage for the subsequent 50 minutes.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) August 10, 2019
The hosts sought to make that advantage count. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Nic White crossed the line early in the second stanza to boost the lead to 26-12.
The 14-man All Blacks began to tire. When Marika Koroibete crashed over in the 62nd minute, the game appeared to be in the bag.
Hodge claimed his second try in the 70th minute. The subsequent conversion by Matt Toomua took the Wallabies to 40 points, the most they’ve ever scored against New Zealand.
The Wallabies will win their first Bledisloe Cup title in 17 years if they avoid defeat in next week’s fixture in Auckland.
Wallabies – Tries: Reece Hodge (2), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Marika Koroibete, Kurtley Beale. Conversions: Christian Leali’fano (2), Matt Toomua (2). Penalties: Leali’ifano (3)
All Blacks – Tries: Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Ngani Laumape. Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (3).
Wallabies – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks.
All Blacks – 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 George Bridge.
Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images