Mon, Oct 23, 10:46am by Head Editor
When Australia take on New Zealand in any sport, there is not really any dead rubbers. The third and final Bledisloe Cup game of 2017 had no effect on the Cup but it did boost the Wallabies hopes. New Zealand rarely lose, so when they do it is magnified the rugby community in the hope that there are finally some chinks in their armour.
Wearing an indigenous jersey for the first time of any Australian national team, all the pre-match hype surrounded Kurtley Beale. Whilst he wasn’t the star on the night, his impact was certainly felt as he continued to shore up the Wallabies midfield. The 23-18 victory, however, came from a full team effort that saw them battle to the very end against the All Blacks.
Most impressive on Saturday night was the fact that the Wallabies outscored the All Blacks three tries to one. With Reece Hodge, Israel Folau and Marika Koroibete crossing the line to put Australia in control. Things would have been a lot more comfortable for the home side had Bernard Foley had his kicking boots on. His struggles from the tee meant, Hodge eventually took over the duties.
Heading into the match Australia were priced at $5 with the Kiwis at $1.17. Highlighting what an incredible feat this was for the Wallabies.
Ultimately though the win needs to be taken in perspective. Whilst it was great for Australian rugby, the All Blacks were without a number of key players and had already retained the Cup for another year. There is still room for improvement for the Wallabies, but they’ll certainly enjoy this win.
Next up for Michael Cheika’s men is a game against the Barbarians in Sydney before heading north for their European Tour.
This match will be used to explore the depth of the Wallabies squad with several notable absences. Half back combo Will Genia and Bernard Foley will sit out the Barbarians game whilst worryingly for Wallabies fans, Israel Folau will play but it will be his last game for 2017. He will not be joining the squad for the trip north.
Having been left out of the Wallabies squad earlier in the year, Quade Cooper will be lining up against them in the black and white of the Barbarians. His attacking prowess is exactly what fans want to see in a Barbarians game. He will have a point to prove against his old teammates.
The last home game of 2017 will certainly have a different feel to it than the test against the All Blacks. Yet the aim will be the same, win at all costs to head away with plenty of confidence having now gone undefeated in their last five matches.
Next up, the Wallabies are heavily favoured to beat Japan in Tokyo on November 4. The green and gold then take on Wales in the first match of their European tour at 4:15am on Sunday November 12, the odds for that one currently stand at $1.77 for an Aussie win, with the Welsh at $2.06.
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