All Blacks and Black Ferns dominant
By Roger Childs
The All Blacks didn’t score until the 38th minute and earlier had conceded just 6 points. Then they rattled on six tries to the Wallabies one, to win comfortably 38-13.
In the curtain raiser the Black Ferns were also too strong for the Wallaroos and, like the All Blacks, were too powerful in the forwards. The women’s game has come a long way in a few years.
When the women first started playing, it took a while for interest to build. The quality of play wasn’t great and often the passing was laboured; scrums packed to high; there was little jumping in the lineout and the fitness level was often poor.
That’s all changed now, and the Black Ferns demonstrated high level skills in their 30-11 victory. The passing was slick, there was plenty of speedy running and the pack kept rolling the Australians. Captain, Fiao’o Faamausili, was inspirational, scoring three tries. The constant forward pressure from the Kiwi team tired the Wallaroos, who, in particular, had no answer to the rolling mauls close to the line.
Lost chances in the first half of the Bledisloe Cup match
In the second match of the evening, the Wallabies should have gone into the sheds at half time with more points on the board. They had had most of the possession and territory, but could only muster six points from two penalties.
The All Black defence was strong, but mistakes in the backline and kicking away possession meant that scoring opportunities were wasted by both sides.
Then the All Blacks struck with a couple of minutes to go in the first half. Ben Smith broke a tackle and some clever inter-passing saw Aaron Smith score wide out.
The flood gates open after the break
Soon after the break a wild pass was picked up by Jack Goodhue, who ran 50 metres to score unopposed.
The Crusaders centre, could be well pleased with his first full test, tackling well and being dangerous will ball in hand.
The ability of the All Blacks to punish mistakes was again shown when Hayden Penny dropped a pass near half way and Beauden Barrett kicked through three times before gathering the ball to score to the right of the posts.
More individual skill was shown by Brodie Retallick, who relished being back in his first test of the season, when he featured in a slick passing movement on the left flank. He had a player outside him, but sold a dummy and sprinted 30 metres to score, much to the delight of the team.
Two late tries to Naholo completed the runaway victory. However, the big winger can be a loose cannon; he did a great steal in the second half to give the All Blacks a turnover which led to a try, but back in the first half had upended one of the Wallabies, and was lucky to avoid a yellow card.
Forward power prevails
Keiran Read played more in the tight than usual and led the team well. Like Retallick, he was pleased to be back from injury, and his fitness held up well.
The players who came off the bench all made an impact, and the fresh legs certainly made a difference when the pace of the game picked up in the second half.
There were hard luck stories for both sides:
- Ryan Crotty who has been so effective in the mid-field since Conrad Smith retired from test rugby, went off with concussion in the first half.
- The Wallabies’ most dangerous back, Israel Falou, limped off late in the second half with what looked like an ankle injury.
One hand on the Bledisloe Cup
Winning well away was exactly what the All Blacks wanted to start the Four Nation competition and the three match Bledisloe Cup series.
It’s hard to see the Wallabies rolling the New Zealanders at Eden Park in the second test.