Wallabies coach fumes over 'disappointing reporting'
SPOTLIGHT: Dave Rennie’s Wallabies headed straight for Perth after their Bledisloe Cup humiliation in Auckland on Saturday.
A year after their record 36-0 whitewash in Sydney, Ian Foster had set another benchmark with a 57-22 win on Saturday: the All Blacks’ biggest score against Australia in 118 years.
More than just winning the match, New Zealand won the mental war.
Whether trash talk or just careless chat, the barbs from the Wallabies in the lead-up to Bledisloe II were certainly noticed by the All Blacks.
Andrew Kellaway’s throwaway suggestion the New Zealanders had lost their aura and Jordan Uelese’s call that the pressure was on the All Blacks were bold given Australia’s record at Eden Park.
“They probably believed that after last week, and I can see why,” Foster said after Saturday’s big win sealed the trans-Tasman series.
“We opened the door a little bit for them [in Bledisloe I] so it was important we made a statement tonight [Saturday].”
Kellaway at least walked the walk after talking the talk; scoring a double to make it three tries in Two tests.
Rennie fumed at how the statements made their way into the All Blacks dressing room via Australian media, calling it “disappointing reporting”.
“You’ve got a young player who’s played about three Tests who gets asked about playing the All Blacks at Eden Park and over a five-minute interview they pluck out three or four words to make a headline,” he said.
“What Kels [Kellaway] is saying is last week he was heading into the unknown, the All Blacks at Eden Park – how tough is that – but now we get to play them at the same venue.
“Incredibly disappointing for a Sydney reporter to make a massive headline… from a young player who’s just finding his way.
“Clearly we’re not going to try and entice the All Blacks to fire up anymore they normally do.”
Foster, in his second season as coach after a long stint as Steve Hansen’s assistant, chucked at the media game-within-a-game.
“You guys love that. You play the game. You give us what they say and you want us to respond. It’s fun,” he said.
“In reality it doesn’t change a lot of our preparation.
“All it does is probably reflect on where they’re at and what they’re thinking. It does give us a little bit of an insight.”
Asked whether Saturday’s demolition of the Wallabies was his finest moment in the job, Foster deferred.
“I haven’t thought of that. Sydney last year was pretty good,” he deadpanned.
Perhaps wisely, the Wallabies flew directly to Western Australia early on Sunday morning.
They left with their tail between their legs: without giving interviews beyond their post-match requirements.
Game three, a Bledisloe dead rubber but a live Rugby Championship fixture, is set for Optus Stadium on August 28.