Wallabies woe

They may have beaten the Six Nations champions this summer, but the Wallabies couldn't handle the world champion All Blacks. [more]

Wallabies woe

They may have beaten the Six Nations champions this summer, but the Wallabies couldn’t handle the world champion All Blacks.

An 81st minute penalty from Dan Carter put the seal on a miserable night for David Pocock’s side in the opening game of the new Rugby Championship at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium as they slipped to a 27-19 defeat.

That was Carter’s fifth penalty of the night and ended home hopes of at least taking a losing bonus point out of the game as they launched the defence of their Tri Nations title.

The Wallabies took the lead with a third minute penalty from Berrick Barnes, but then the All Blacks scored 18 unanswered points including two tries from set-piece possession.

Man of the match Israel Dagg skipper around opposite number Kurtley Beale to grab the first and then Cory Jane was worked clear to cross in the right corner. At that stage the wallabies were all at sea, with basic errors contributing to their downfall.

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But a try from veteran lock Nathan Sharpe on the stroke of half-time, converted by Barnes, gave them a lifeline and a penalty at the start of the second period cut the gap to five points.

But that was as good as it got for Pocock’s men and Carter and Barnes swapped penalties over the remaining 35 minutes to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The All Blacks defence was awesome, the Aussies attack poor.

“The momentum switched over the course of the game, but I was proud of my guys when they didn’t have the ball,” said All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw..

“We are very happy with the win, although both teams were a little bit rusty. Come next week we will be better, although to get an away win in the first game up in the Rugby Championship is great.”

Even though they had played four Tests in June, losing to Scotland and then beating Wales 3-0 in a tight series, the Wallabies looked rusty and out of sorts against their biggest rivals. The pressure the world champions put on them at the scrum, breakdown and in defence brought about a huge number of errors.

“It was very disappointing and we failed to hold onto the ball. They put a lot of pressure on us when they didn’t have the ball and at the breakdown,” admitted Pocock.

“You can’t have that many turn-overs against a team like the All Blacks. We have to get quicker ball, hold onto it and get over the gain line.

“We need to find some continuity in our game. This wasn’t good enough and we have a lot of hard work to do before next week.”

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