Top 15 of 2017: Wallabies lose Dunedin thriller

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It's been a big year in rugby on many different fronts, so is taking a look back at the 15 biggest storylines of the year, based on the stories you read and reacted to.

#6: Wallabies lose Dunedin thriller 

The second Bledisloe may linger as one of the great ‘What ifs?’ of 2017, with the Wallabies letting an early lead slip in a heartbreaking Test.

Australia burst out to a quick lead, courtesy of Israel Folau, Will Genia and Michael Hooper, seizing control, but the next challenge was to hang on to the advantage

Beauden Barrett was the chief destroyer as the All Blacks inched their way back, contributing 10 points off the boot as well as a try double, while the Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley couldn’t find his radar, booting just two from six on the night.

When Kurtley Beale scored a spectacular try in the 76th minute, putting the Wallabies one point up and giving Australia the chance to hold New Zealand out and level the series.

Barrett, though, left Australia with another taste of Bledisloe pain, slipping through for a spectacular last-gasp try.

Sean McMahon had the game of his life, prompting an audacious call from Michael Cheika in the post-match press conference for the 23-year-old to stay in Australia.

Cheika wasn't looking for hollow positives after the heartbreak, a mentality that flitered through to his players, not satisifed with coming close.

Beale was visibly upset after the game, a match the Wallabies felt they could, and probably should, have won.

Vision in the aftermath also suggeted All Blacks captain Kieran Read may have infringed in the final kick-off, off which Barrett scored, but it was all too little too late.

The closeness of the result came as a shock for many punters, after one of the worst 2017 outings for the Wallabies just a week before in Sydney.