worldcup online – the real conversation

Australia 25-20 New Zealand | Tri-Nations match report

August 29th, 2011 by · No Comments · Features

Australia 25-20 New Zealand

New Zealand egos and the bookies’ odds may already be damaged, but the favourites for the Rugby World Cup will learn on Monday whether they have to call up two thirds of a new back row before they go into the competition.

By then the All Blacks will have the results of scans on the flanker Adam Thomson’s hyper-extended elbow and Kieran Read’s damaged ankle, with the coach, Graham Henry, admitting that Thomson looks a doubt and that he was considering calling up the Waikato loose forward Liam Messam.

Losing either player would be a blow to the All Blacks, who went into their match in Brisbane with something close to the side they had hoped would start the World Cup against Tonga in Auckland. To lose both would mean the end of a partnership seen as key to New Zealand success in their own backyard.

Henry was particularly downbeat about Thomson’s chances. “It doesn’t look good,” he said during the inquest into the 25-20 defeat that gave Australia their first Tri‑Nations title in a decade. “They’re a concern obviously. Those guys will be getting scanned in Christchurch as soon as possible. We’re pretty positive really about Kieran, the doctor thinks he’ll be able to play in the World Cup. There may be a slow start, but I’m only speculating.”

All three of the All Black back row received treatment within the first 10 minutes of the game and of the trio only Richie McCaw, the captain, was left on the field at half‑time when the All Blacks were reeling and 17 points down to an Australian side determined on a muscular route from the start. Unlike at Auckland earlier in the tournament, when they went on the defensive and lost the game 30-14, the Wallabies pounded away until a huge gap opened up for their scrum‑half Will Genia.

Faced with such aggression– and there were plenty of spats to occupy the English referee Wayne Barnes – the All Blacks were flustered and started missing tackles: 15 of them by half‑time and the most obvious when Thomson was brushed off by Radike Samo as the 35-year-old went 60 metres for his first Test try.

In fact Samo had not started a Test for seven years before Robbie Deans selected him on the back of a remarkable season helping the Queensland Reds to take the Super Rugby title, beating Canterbury Crusaders, also in Brisbane and at the Suncorp Stadium.

The All Blacks hit back with two tries of their own immediately after the interval, but the game was put beyond them when Genia sliced the midfield open, the wing Digby Ioane provided the link, and Adam Ashley-Cooper went over in the corner, leaving both coaches to insist the result had no relevance to upcoming matters in New Zealand.

However, of the two sides, it is Australia who are likely to get better. The wing and first-choice kicker James O’Connor has served his one-match ban for missing a team photo shoot, allowing Ashley‑Cooper to move alongside Pat McCabe in a promising centre partnership, while Quade Cooper escaped punishment after the latest round of handbags with McCaw in their ongoing history of shove and counter shove.More importantly, Australia seem in Adam Pocock, Rocky Elsom – playing better without the captaincy – and Samo to have a well balanced back row whereas New Zealand might have to consider last-minute alternatives.

Australia Beale, Ashley-Cooper, A Fainga’a, McCabe, Ioane; Cooper, Genia (Burgess 75); Kepu (Ma’afu 75), Moore (S Fainga’a 75), Alexander, Vickerman (Simmons 56), Horwill (capt), Elsom (Higginbotham 70), Pocock, Samo (McCalman 64).

Tries Genia, Samo, Ashley-Cooper Cons Cooper 2 Pens Cooper 2.

New Zealand Muliaina, Jane, Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, Guildford (Toeva 56); Carter, Weepu (Ellis 63); Woodcock, Mealamu (Hore 73), O Franks (Afoa 73), Whitelock, Thorn, Thomson (Williams 37),McCaw, Read (Vito 12).

Tries Smith, Nonu Cons Carter 2 Pens Carter 2.

Referee Wayne Barnes (Eng). Attendance 51,858. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & ConditionsMore Feeds

Read more…



No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment