The Wallabies are on the back foot in a Bledisloe campaign once again after Saturday night's defeat.
What are we talking about after the 54-34 loss to the All Blacks?
Just when things looked their worst, the Wallabies showed us another night of Bledisloe pain. A record score conceded by half-time as well as a mountain of tackles missed. In a year where Australian sides have been shown up in every occasion by their New Zealand opposition, the Wallabies became the latest on the list. Though they showed some semblance of fight in the second half, that made skipper Michael Hooper proud that will be little consolation for Australian rugby fans in an already painful year.
2. Leaky defence hurts again
With the ball the Wallabies looked semi-threatening. Without it, they were the proverbial turnstiles and the All Blacks held the platinum tickets in a first half that All Blacks skipper Kieran Read dubbed ‘surreal’ for the ease with which they scored. Fox Sports Stats had the final missed tackle count at 48, with Opta making it 30. Either way, it was ugly reading for a Wallabies side that was adamant it had rectified its defensive problems. When they had the ball they actually began to look somewhat dangerous, racking up the second half points as the All Blacks took their feet off the gas.
3. Crotty enemy number one
Everyone was focused on Sonny Bill Williams but it was his centre partner who inflicted so much of the damage on the Wallabies. He had a double by half-time and has set up another for Rieko Ioane. He finished with seven carries for 64 metres, per Opta Sports, as well as four clean breaks and beating six defenders.
4. Forwards going back
It’s not exactly a new phenomenon but the Wallabies were given a stark reminder of the All Blacks’ athleticism from 1-15 when they were exposed in the ninth minute. Near no-look passes from Brodie Retallick and Kieran Read ended up in a Liam Squire try. It wasn’t the easiest try the All Blacks scored all night, but it showed exactly the gulf in class between these two teams.
5. Where to next?
The Wallabies have just a week to turn things around should they want to take the Bledisloe to a Brisbane decider. The question remains, how? This will prove to be the greatest test of Michael Cheika’s Wallabies tenure and it’s a baptism of fire for Michael Hooper as captain. They pulled just 54,846 to ANZ on Saturday night and that number will only continue to plummet should the losses keep coming.