Bledisloe came down to basic skills: Barrett

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

In the aftermath of Australia’s 42-8 loss to the All Blacks on Saturday night, perhaps the most damning criticism came inadvertently from New Zealand flyhalf Beauden Barrett.

Barrett sliced open Australia’s defence throughout the game, crossing for a try and setting up another for winger Waisake Naholo.

Beauden Barrett said skills proved the difference. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Hurricanes playmaker said that attacking penetration came down to basic skills.

“We managed to get quite a few offloads going and to play that tempo game,” he said.

“It was just our basic skills that led to our tries so it was pleasing, just doing the obvious.”

New Zealand’s attack was shuffled around during the game, though they lost little potency with Ben Smith moving into the midfield and Barrett into fullback.

It’s a shift in which the Hurricanes’ 10 is well-versed and said he would be happy to replicate any week.

“I enjoy fullback, it's a bit of freedom back there and the way we play a game we have a driver on each side of the ruck so it suits our game,” he said.

“It was forced by injury earlier than expected but I sort of expected to be shunted back to fullback so that's fine with me, more than happy to stay on the field.”

The Wallabies gave the All Blacks 'free rein'. Photo: Getty ImagesBarrett and the backline were the driving force of New Zealand’s attacking threats during the match, but just as damaging was the Kiwis’ forwards silky skills.

New Zealand managed 16 offloads to the Wallabies’ three through the game, a statistic reflective of the defensive lapses coach Michael Cheika was so critical of post-match.

Wallabies vice-captain Michael Hooper said the Aussies allowed their opponents ‘free rein’ in contact, though was confident they could match New Zealand’s skills.

“They've been doing it for a lot of years,” he said.

“It helps when you're able to get us going backwards, not making dominant tackles.

“You're much more comfortable making an offload when you're going forward.

“We weren't able to halt that and get them worried about them throwing the offload or get them worried about moving back, almost giving them free rein to do what they want.

“Their skills are way up there (but) I've seen our guys do it, they (New Zealand) did it on Saturday, though, unfortunately.”