Swept away Aussies not on the same planet

A couple of big questions were answered in emphatic fashion during Sunday’s one-sided Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship clash between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Perth. New Zealand’s player depth was most certainly put to the test with three of their best and most experienced players were not involved due to new-born baby events back home.

That the All Blacks won so easily 38-21 (and it should have been a lot more if our goal-kickers were on song) without captain and lock Sam Whitelock, play-maker and goal-kicker Richie Mo’unga and the world’s best halfback Aaron Smith was outstanding in itself.

Then you add in what happened during the match. Skipper Ardie Savea retired with a head knock halfway through the contest and likewise hooker Cody Taylor went off injured. Less than half an hour into the match, fullback Jordie Barrett was given a red card, a ridiculous decision forced upon referees by people who don’t understand the game.

For 20 minutes until Barrett could be replaced the All Blacks not only held Australia at bay but scored a try themselves, although conceding one almost as soon as they were restored to 15 players would have irked them.

Now Sonny Bill Williams might not be everyone’s cup of tea as a commentator/comments man, but I reckon he did good job on Sunday and he made one very relevant point about the All Blacks skill and speed of thought factors, areas the Wallabies haven’t been able to match with any consistency for years.

Williams said New Zealand kids grow up learning and honing their skills in the backyard and down at the local parks with their mates, neighbours or by themselves from the time they are old enough to hold a rugby ball and run.

These sublime skills and speed of thought once again beautifully on display from the All Blacks in Perth, are part of most Kiwi kids DNA, it’s something Williams said that gives us an advantage over the Wallabies and he’s absolutely right.

Some of the All Blacks tries were breathtakingly brilliant with speed of thought, skill execution and outright pace and power all in evidence.

Poor defence and error rates have been a regular issue for the Wallabies even more so this year, but on Sunday, many of those errors and the intercepts were the result of intense and aggressive New Zealand defence and then of course the ambition to turn those errors into tries.

this All Blacks coaching staff have done a wonderful job and no doubt Blues coach Leon MacDonald has played a big role in their resurrection as well, in reigniting the brothers flame and man were they fantastic

Hats off to coach Ian Foster and his fellow selectors too for sticking with the Ioane brothers Rieko and Akira. They’ve both had their issues with discipline and preparation and at one stage it looked as though they had both dropped off the national radar.

However this All Blacks coaching staff have done a wonderful job and no doubt Blues coach Leon MacDonald has played a big role in their resurrection as well, in reigniting the brothers flame and man were they fantastic on Sunday.

Akira was hands down man of the match ,displaying all the skills us supporters and the coaches knew he had, pace, power and something he’s really developed this season, work rate in defence and making good decisions. Twice after making breaks he chose exactly the right moment to pass and tries were scored.

Rieko is a rocket man and to see that searing speed and confidence to run and beat defenders back is a wonderful sight. Not a bad fathers day present for their dad Eddie who was watching on from their home in Auckland.

Ethan Blackadder came on near half-time replacing skipper Savea and as he’s done for a while now, whatever level he plays at, he just seamlessly fits in with his insatiable work-rate with and without the ball. Same with explosive hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, a super star in the making.

Second five David Havili had another outstanding game and just continues to get better with each outing. He’s the full package and his two tries from very different situations and huge work rate illustrated that.

Beauden Barrett did a good job at first five and remains a class player. However his goal-kicking was off radar and he didn’t have the impact as a runner that he can have or that Mo’unga has.

On Jordie Barrett’s red card. I guess referee Damon Murphy, who generally did a bloody good job, had no choice but to take the action he did given referees are instructed to do so by their bosses.

A yellow card fair enough but there was totally no intent when he raised his foot up to balance himself catching a high ball and his boot collected Samu Kerevi’s face, without doing any damage.

There has got to some flexibility but I guess the saving grace was the new experimental rule which allows a sent off player to be replaced after 20 minutes which enabled the match to remain at least in playing numbers, an even contest.

A yellow card fair enough but there was totally no intent when he raised his foot up to balance himself catching a high ball and his boot collected Samu Kerevi’s face, without doing any damage.

As for the Wallabies, coach Dave Rennie and their rugby chairman Hamish McLennan plus SANZAR mouthing off criticising the All Blacks for a lack of commitment about travelling to Perth a week earlier was just gold to coach Ian Foster.

These are the little motivational jewels which can just steel a side even more and the All Blacks certainly made another statement on Sunday.

Have the Wallabies improved under Dave Rennie’s coaching. On the evidence of what we have seen so far this year, NO, not that I can see. The same old error rate, poor kicking, playing well in patches, questionable selections, but just losing concentration at vital moments. They certainly left a few points out there with Noah Lolesio missing a penalty from point blank range in front and winger Marika Koroibete having two tries disallowed.

Their captain Michael Hooper is a super star, a magnificent player and as tough as they come but there’s precious few other world class players to help him out. Samu Kerevi looked lively early on and halfback Tate McDermott had another cracking game. It continues to baffle me why one of their best and most destructive forwards, prop Taniela Tupou is not brought on until the game is lost as a contest. Cool to see former Tasman Mako and Crusaders loose-forward Pete Samu come on as a replacement in the second half and make a difference.

Shout out to Western Australia for hosting the match at the magnificent Optus Stadium in front of 55,000 fans, many of them ex-pat Kiwis and another reminder about the joys of afternoon test rugby. It just brings out the best in attacking flair and is so much more user friendly for the fans.

Mark my words, despite having been kicked out of Super rugby by their own incompetent National rugby union a couple of years back, Western Australia is becoming a stronghold of the game in Australia and in the not too distant future the Western Force will be the best Super rugby team in Aussie

Now for the rest of the Rugby Championship. Bring on Argentina and the World champion Springboks and how good is it to be living in Queensland right now.

Me and a couple of mates have secured tickets for the October 2 double header at Robina on the Gold Coast, the curtain-raiser Australia v Argentina and the main game All Blacks versus Springboks.

Total cost $80 and that includes free public transport too and from the stadium.

It does clash with my wedding anniversary but I’ve got the green light from Cheza so all good for another year of marital bliss.

Words by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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