All Black period coming to an end for Wallabies

by staff

The Wallabies have lost their past nine matches against the All Blacks. They have failed to win the Bledisloe Cup for the past eight years and are yet again facing the prospect of finishing in last position on the Tri Nations ladder.

The present time suggests that this is a pretty bleak period for Australian Rugby, but make no mistake, Saturday night's valiant showing by the Wallabies in Christchurch proves the dawn is fast approaching.

Sure, the result ended up being the same as the previous eight encounters against the All Blacks. But the attitude and pride shown by Australia on this occasion completely outshone everything that was displayed in Melbourne a week earlier.

Bar the scoreboard, the Wallabies stood toe to toe with their Trans-Tasman rivals across the park and probably should have won the Test match themselves, given the host of opportunities they had to post points.

But there lies the difference – after dominating the opening quarter of the match, New Zealand had already scored two tries, one each to Mils Muliaina and Conrad Smith – both of which were converted by the ever reliable boot of Dan Carter.

During that opening period, the All Blacks were crisp with the ball in hand, producing some clinical second phase play which tormented the Australia backs.

The Wallabies however responded well to adversity, and let the Kiwis know how lethal they are on the counter attack, when Kurtley Beale raced away to score Australia's opening try thanks largely to Carter's handling error.

From that point onwards, the match eventuated into an arm wrestle which the Wallabies narrowly dominated.

Come the second half, Robbie Deans' men found themselves camped deep in All Blacks territory, but were constantly thwarted by a mammoth effort from New Zealand's scrum.

The Wallabies at times were their own worst enemy, with many passes falling to ground or finding the sideline.

The lack of execution shown by Australia last night cost them dearly, and one begs the question of how well the Wallabies could have attacked if suspended star Quade Cooper was present.

Regardless, the 20-10 loss left Australian Rugby with far more positives than negatives, and this bodes well for success for not only next year's Tri Nations, but the Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies have proven to be a considerable force on Rugby's biggest stage, having contested two of the past three World Cup finals.

New Zealand on the other hand have severely underachieved, with their last World Cup triumph now over 23 years ago.

While the All Blacks are playing irresistible Rugby at present, it remains to be seen whether Graham Henry's men can play any better come November 2011.

The Wallabies on the other hand have enormous room for improvement, and with the World Cup just over a year away, there is ample time for Australia to rediscover its best form and once again become the envy of New Zealand Rugby when it really counts.