Cards galore as Wallabies stun All Blacks
MATCH REPORT: Red and yellow cards were at the fore of the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup encounter between Australia and New Zealand on Saturday.
Australia pulled off a 24-22 win over New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.
*As it happened: Australia v New Zealand
With both teams reduced to 14 men in the first half following red cards for New Zealand’s Ofa Tuungafasi and Australia’s debutant Lachlan Swinton for high tackles, the Wallabies dug deep to come from behind to stun the All Blacks.
After being smashed 43-5 in Sydney last weekend, the Wallabies were given little chance of turning the tables on the All Blacks, who had already secured the Bledisloe Cup with a game to spare.
But they finished the stronger of the two teams and sealed the win when replacement prop Taniela Tupou crashed over with five minutes left to put the home side 24-15 ahead.
But there was still time for All Blacks to cross with two minutes remaining when Tupou Vaai scored next to the posts and Jordie Barret converted to reduce the gap to 24-22, but the Wallabies held on for a deserved win.
“I’m really proud of the guys, we’ve been working hard for a lot of weeks,” said Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, who was enjoyed his first win since taking charge of Australia.
“We knew we were better than last week and showed a lot of character tonight. We know we get still be better, we can be tidier and finish off the game without putting the coaches through the wringer.
“But they’re a good bunch of boys, they’re working hard and great that we got a result tonight.”
The Wallabies got away to a blistering start in front of over 36,000 fans when wing Tom Wright scored with his first touch in Test rugby.
A perfectly placed chip kick from flyhalf Reece Hodge fell perfectly for fullback Tom Banks, who then found Wright with a clever flick pass.
The All Blacks struck back only six minutes later when wing Rieko Ioane crossed in the corner after 29 phases to level the scores at 5-5.
Two red cards
Hodge put the Wallabies back in front with a penalty in the 21st minute before the All Blacks were rocked by Tuungafasi’s red card when the big prop was adjudged to have hit Wright in the head with a high tackle.
After weathering a storm from the Australians, the All Blacks drew level at 8-8 when Micheal Hooper was penalised for entering the ruck from the side right in front of the posts and Jordie Barrett made no mistake with the penalty.
But from the ensuing kick-off Swinton smashed Sam Whitelock with a shoulder to the head and referee Nic Berry had an easy decision to show him the second red card of the match.
The Wallabies were rocked once again when wing Marika Koroibete was shown a yellow card right on half-time for a professional foul but they held on and went into the break with the scores level.
They then took the lead against the odds 10 minutes after the restart with a second Hodge penalty, and when Koroibete returned to the field the Wallabies were ahead 11-8
But that lead lasted just two minutes as Codie Taylor crashed over at the back of a driving maul after Whitelock secured good ball at the line-out five metres out.
Jordie Barrett converted from out wide to make it 15-11 to the All Blacks.
A third Hodge penalty following a dominant Australian scrum got the Wallabies to within a point at 15-14.
Then with 13 minutes to go, the All Blacks were down to 13 when Scott Barrett was shown a yellow card for a cynical foul, batting the ball away illegally to stop an attack while lying on the ground.
The Wallabies took full advantage with another Hodge penalty before Tupou’s match-winning try.
“We said we wanted a response after last week and we got it,” said a delighted Rennie. “Good to get a result like that as it helps with belief.”
Man of the match: Like usual Beauden Barrett tried to create a couple of try-scoring opportunities for his team but he wasn’t that spectacular. Jordie Barrett was impressive from the tee, while Akira Ioane was impressive until he was sacrificed following Ofa Tuungafasi’s red card . For Australia, Michael Hooper was aggressive and ruthless in defence. Australia’s Newbie Tom Wright proved to be a breath of fresh air with his lethal runs and opening try. However, the award goes to Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete. Despite his 10 minutes on the bin, the wing was vital over the park. He made huge tackles and kept dangerman Sevu Reece at bay. On attack, he made several runs and was even part of one of the scrums.
Moment of the match: There were loads of dramatic moments. Taniela Tupou’s try in the 76th minute (which placed the Wallabies in a winning position) followed by Tupou Vaa’I’s try two minutes later. Wallabies wing Tom Wright’s five-pointer in the fourth minute which set the tone of the match. However, in a game filled with lethal attack, nothing beats Marika Koroibete’s tackle on Damian McKenzie in the 79th minute. The powerful wing made a huge tackle on McKenzie which eventually resulted in a scrum for Australia and the win.
Villain of the match: The reds cards in the first half really marred what could have been a lovely spectacle. All Blacks Ofa Tuungafasi received a red card for his tackle on Tom Wright in the 22nd minute and Lachie Swinton for his high tackle on Sam Whitelock in the 34th minute. The two incidents were very similar and while the referee Nic Berry followed the laws, the sent-offs were very unfortunate and needs to be scrutinized.
Tries: Wright, Tupou
Pens: Hodge 4
For New Zealand:
Tries: R Ioane, Taylor, Vaa’i
Cons: J Barrett 2
Pens: J Barrett
Yellow cards: Marika Koroibete (Australia, 40 – foul play), Scott Barrett (New Zealand, 67 – deliberate knockdown)
Red cards: Ofa Tuungafasi (New Zealand, 22 – high tackle), Lachie Swinton (Australia, 34 – high tackle)
Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Nic White, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Ned Hanigan, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Noah Lolesio, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Cullen Grace, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Will Jordan.
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe, Angus Gardner
TMO: Paul Williams
- Additional reporting by AFP