The Bledisloe Cup is staying in New Zealand for the 14th time after the All Blacks defeated the Wallabies 29-9 in Wellington.
The All Blacks were not as dominant as they were the previous week in Sydney where they thrashed the Wallabies 42-8.
However, it was always going to be a tougher game than the previous week with the Wallabies looking to make amends for that poor result. The All Blacks got off to a flyer when Israel Dagg scored the first try of the match in the eighth minute setting the tone for the All Blacks. Beauden Barrett was also on fire being the instrumental component in the side by scoring nine points. The Wallabies were marginally better in terms of physicality and competitiveness with fly half Bernard Foley scoring two penalties. The Wallabies were right in it at half time when debutant Reece Hodge scored a penalty from halfway to give the visitors a slim chance with the scores 15-9 at the main break. Mistakes started to sink in for the Wallabies with poor lineouts being executed, missed tackles and a yellow card for Adam Coleman for a late shoulder charge on Ben Smith.
After the break, it was all going beautifully for the All Blacks when Julian Savea got things off to a flyer scoring the first try of the second half. The Wallabies went try-less in the second half, proving that the All Blacks are still the team to beat.
Here is what we learned in the second test.
Beauden Barrett proves why he is a starter
Before the first Bledisloe test, there was much debate at who will be starting in the first five position; Beauden Barrett or fellow teamate Aaron Cruden. It was Barrett who got the nod in the first test and then, after a strong performance, again in the second. Prior to the series Barrett had only started 10 times out of his 40-match career but in this test he showed why he should start by making good gains with the boot, knowing when to run and knowing when to move the ball. Barrett also set up two tries as well as scoring nine points with the boot (three conversions and a penalty) showing way he should start for the remainder of the Rugby Championship.
Missed tackles proves decisive
If there is one thing certain in rugby, you cannot afford to miss tackles (especially if your opponent is the All Blacks) and if you do, well it can came back to bite you. This was exactly the case in Wellington for the Wallabies, who missed 28 tackles compared to the All Blacks who only missed eight tackles for the whole 80 minutes. This is a significant stat that Michael Cheika will look at when reviewing the match, before they play South Africa in Brisbane on the 10th of September.
Israel Dagg is back to his best
Israel Dagg is back to his best after another sublime display in the black jersey. Prior to this year, his form had dropped and to make matters worse he dislocated his shoulder. Dagg also missed the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England but since then he has been recalled to the All Blacks camp in the June internationals and hasn’t looked back and since then he has been the in form man.
Wallabies need to resolve their lineout problems
One thing that has been very common in the last two Bledisloe cup matches is that the Wallabies have defensive issues. One problem from the second Bledisloe game was their lineouts. Their lineouts have been a big problem for the past two weeks but it was even more evident this week. Four lineouts were lost out of 12 for the Wallabies, which just shows how big of a problem this is. The good news for the Wallabies is that they will not face the All Blacks again until October 22, they do however; have a week off before they play South Africa. This should in fact give them enough time they need in order to resolve their lineout issues.