It was a freakish start to the Test with the kick-off delayed 10 minutes because of problems re-adjusting the lights after they were dimmed during a pre-match tribute to Meads. In contrast, Foley missed four of six kicks, three of them striking the posts.
It’s harder to remember a greater turnaround in worldwide sport than the Wallabies over the last seven days.
Australia coach Michael Cheika has questioned the refereeing of Nigel Owens in their 35-29 Rugby Championship loss to the All Blacks. In Sydney he was a passenger chasing shadows.
On another day, Australia could have triumphed.
The relentless nature of the Wallabies defence was also able to unsettle the All Blacks to the point where they lost a little faith in their own skill execution.
“It’s like my first Test all over again”, said Coles.
Scorers – New Zealand: Ioane, A Smith, B Barrett 2, B Smith tries; Barrett 5 cons. Australia: Folau, Hooper, Foley, Genia, Beale tries; Foley 2 cons.
Michael Hooper scored from an attacking lineout before Foley extended the lead with a breakaway try after the All Blacks had demolished a Wallabies scrum in midfield only for Will Genia to dart through a gap in the disintegrating pack.
Nepo Laulala and Rory Arnold are their replacements. The openside flanker said that while players were never truly ready for a test debut, he felt Rodda would grab his opportunity if given the chance.
New Zealand: D McKenzie; B Smith, R Crotty, SB Williams, R Ioane; B Barrett, A Smith; K Read (c), S Cane, L Squire; S Whitelock, B Retallick; N Laulala, D Coles, J Moody. The penultimate try from the All Blacks was scored after 22 phases and you simply can not give New Zealand that consistent possession.
“In some ways, we’re starting with the hardest task this weekend, but you might as well make a start in the arena you know is going to be the toughest, and keep chipping away from there”.
So destructive at the back end of games throughout 2016, Read’s All Blacks have found ways to trip themselves up in the latter stages of Tests this year. One off day can be dismissed as an aberration but there are issues that need to be addressed.
The second half began at a frantic pace and both sides scrambled well in defence before New Zealand thought they’d broken through when Brodie Retallick crashed over.
“Super Rugby fans love watching the teams play, like our club rugby guys do when they play, I saw some glimpses of the Sydney (Shute Shield) final yesterday and the passion that was there and also for when Australia plays”.