What are we talking about after the Wallabies' loss to the All Blacks?
1. One more year
George Gregan once used the pain of opportunity lost to taunt the All Blacks. Now, the shoe is on the other foot for the Wallabies, in the Bledisloe and at Eden park. It’ll be at least one more year until they taste victory in either and that 1986 Wallabies team maintains its record as the most recent Australian Test side to come away from the Auckland ground smiling.
The Wallabies scored the most spectacular try of the night, except it wasn’t to be. Henry Speight collected a Bernard Foley pass, streaking down the right edge and drawing the Wallabies level. Except, in the TMO review, Dane Haylett-Petty was ruled to be obstructing Julian Savea in the chase. Haylett-Petty was chasing Speight and collided with Savea, with the TMO ruling that obstruction. Social media lit up and the reaction from Wallabies coach MIchael Cheika in the box said it all. Ten minutes later, it was on the cards again with Scott Sio appearing to be tripped by Aaron Cruden. Cruden took a quick conversion to avoid the opportunity for Nigel Owens to refer the decision to TMO, though, ensuring they secured the five points.
3. Better but more work to be done
It’s been a mixed year for the Wallabies but they promised an improved effort and, more importantly, a better result, and Saturday night was that. Cheika rang the changes and after a supremely shaky start, things began to pay off. While that Speight call might cause plenty of consternation, the Wallabies weren’t the best team at Eden Park on Saturday night but aat the very least, it showed a glimpse of hope for the future at a place where so often the Wallabies have only found despair.
4. Izzy in the centres
Everybody finally got what they wanted - Israel Folau into 13 in attack.It took the loss of Samu Kerevi for it to happen, in a turn of events that eerily echoed other ankle injuries the Wallabies have seen this season, as the starting 13 hobbled across the field for two minutes before finally being called off. Folau’s move didn’t pay off immediately but the Wallabies attack did start to gel more as the game went on. He had by far the most run metres of any player, even pipping two-try star Julian Savea, was more involved in the play, but couldn’t break the line. Depending on the severity of Kerevi’s injury, you can expect to hear plenty more questions about Folau’s future positioning.
5. These All Blacks are the best
There’s no question anymore, the statistics simply say it all. New Zealand finally cracked their elusive 18th consecutive Test win, after two attempts left stranded on 17 in the past four years. These All Blacks are the most dominant Tier One nation in history and that record stands as proof. With a Spring Tour to come, where their defeat finally comes will be closely watched by all.