'Nowhere near as tough': Kiwi writer's brutal attack on Wallabies

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, Wallabies players look dejected after another Eden Park mauling by the All Blacks.
The Wallabies' Eden Park misery continued with a 20-point loss in Bledisloe II. Pic: Getty

The All Blacks won the second Bledisloe Cup Test against the Wallabies with ease and now New Zealand's writers are keen to stick the boot in.

Australia's 34-year Eden Park curse continued after they were handed a chastening 27-7 hammering by the All Blacks in Auckland.

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It means the Aussies need to win the remaining two Tests in Sydney and Brisbane to claim the Trans-Tasman trophy for the first time since 2002.

New Zealand Herald sports writer Gregor Paul said an early incident in the Eden Park Test exposed a soft underbelly for the Wallabies that he claims has been an issue for years.

Veteran All Blacks hooker Dan Coles got the Aussies' blood boiling when he showed Wallabies rival Taniela Tupou in an early incident that threatened to spark fireworks.

Paul said the act of aggression was the "defining moment" of the Test and laid the foundations of New Zealand's dominant display.

"That one act of belligerence set the tone for the 80 minutes and had a huge impact on the test because clearly Tupou didn’t like being singled out by such a deliberate act of aggression and like many self-styled Wallabies hard men of the past, discovered, in front of 45,000 New Zealanders at Eden Park, that he was nowhere near as tough as he thought,” Paul wrote.

"What the All Blacks remembered at Eden Park is that Australia doesn’t actually do genuine hard men."

The Kiwi writer dismissed Australia's "economy brand intimidation" in the thrilling 16-all draw in Wellington, arguing that New Zealand's greater physicality in Auckland left Australia with no answers in the second Test.

"Coles smacked Tupou and the Wallabies went on to miss 40 tackles. The two events were definitely connected and the significance of that one act of defiance by the veteran hooker was enormous," Paul wrote.

Other writers across the ditch agreed with Paul's assessment, with New Zealand Herald colleague Dylan Cleavers saying the 20-point win could have and should have been greater.

"They destroyed Australia, reaffirming the talent disparity between the two sides," he wrote.

"Tactics aside ... it was the greater ferocity with which the All Blacks approached their task that was the biggest difference. It was missing in Wellington, which was disturbing as it’s the very least we expect from All Blacks.

"It must continue across the Tasman."

Seen here, All Blacks winger Caleb Clarke in action against the Wallabies.
All Blacks winger Caleb Clarke ripped the Aussies apart in Auckland. Pic: Getty

Missed tackle count killed Wallabies

The Wallabies' missed tackle count was one of the biggest causes of concern for coach Dave Rennie, with Australia's 42 almost double the 24 missed tackles of their All Blacks counterparts.

In some ways, it could instil confidence in the Aussies that if they can fix those mistakes, they're in with a real shot against the Kiwis.

RugbyPass.com writer Hamish Bidwell says the fact that his countrymen didn't punish the Wallabies more, is a concern for the All Blacks.

"The All Blacks have proven nothing and frightened no-one," Bidwell wrote.

"Sure, their in and out-house public relations departments have been quick to acclaim Sunday’s 27-7 win over Australia, but no markers were put down and no critics answered.

"If you can tackle the All Blacks, you will beat them. End of story."

As far as the Aussie side is concerned, the confidence in being able to mix it with the All Blacks hasn't eroded.

Prop James Slipper, one of the Wallabies' most experienced players, said the post-match mood was surprisingly upbeat.

"The good thing is that we get to play them in two weeks' time and I guarantee it will be a better outcome," Slipper said.

"There's a lot of confidence in the group and we're well aware this Bledisloe is still alive.

"Yes, we let ourselves down... but we've got two to go back at home and we're pretty excited to get back and get stuck in because one thing this group wants to do is win the Bledisloe.

"Yes, we've got a lot of work to do but we don't think we're too far away as well."

with AAP

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