This meant that not all blacks had a side of their head, while the Wallabies used the great Harry Wilson behind the trophy, putting Hodgmann under intense pressure during a penalty (three points). We have seen Tupou dominate in super rugby, but this is the first time he has used his raw power at the Test level in such an effect.
3. The Conquerors and Sinners of Wallabies.
Marika Koroibe performed well in Brisbane, showing newcomer Tom Wright why he should be on the team. However, Lachi Swinton must buy a lottery ticket after his red card has eliminated all blacks from the stream. At this point when the All Blacks were already down to 14 men, it was shocking that Swinton inadvertently headed Sam Whitelock.
It’s true that in his 30 minutes on the field, Varatus No. 6 gave the Wallabies some physicality, but more than back-row partners Harry Wilson and Michael Hooper (the captain was stronger as the game progressed). Swinton has a great future. He’s an athlete who was forced to watch because of that gladiatorial streak, but the days of players leading a life of beating from the chest are gone. Too much risk, too little return.
4. Wallabies unveils ‘Centipede Ruck’ and gets competitive kicks.
By my estimation there were at least half a dozen kick matches in the Tests, most of which were won by Wallabies. The three men behind the All Blacks had a night to forget the high ball, partly because of the excellent Wallabies kick chase, and partly because of the more accurate kicking game from No. 9 Nick White.
Interestingly, Wallabies also introduced a strategy popular this year in the Northern Hemisphere – the ‘centipede rack’. Basically, he formed a ‘long rack’ to protect the halfback when he kicked and carried it to the ridiculous length of Europe, from a position three meters behind where the No. 9 rack was formed.
Wallabies didn’t go that far, but it seems to be a tactic devised to relieve White’s pressure and give him some time to put on a well-weighted kick. Is this one of the little pieces from the north that Rennie brought back?
5. Australian rugby is a moral success.
Four matches against All Blacks: two defeats, one draw and one win. However, that is not the true scorecard of a remarkable year. When the future plans for Trans-Tasman Super Rugby are released soon, they will have room for five Australian teams.
This is a moral victory for Australia, given the messages coming in from New Zealand earlier this year.
In fact, the Brisbane Test summed up the relationship between Australia and New Zealand very well.
Kiwis have an overall edge, but they underestimate Australian rugby and pay the price for it. They made dramatic changes from the Sydney Test, rested Richie Monga and Caleb Clarke, and their advantage over the Wallabies was weaker than they thought.
Cully’s Week Team
- Angus Bell
- Cody Taylor
- Thaniela Thupa ou
- Sam Whitelock
- Matt Phillip
- Harry Wilson
- Michael Hooper
- RD Sava
- Nick White
- Reese Hodge
- Marika Koroibet
- Hunter Paisami
- Jordan Pettia
- Tom Wright
- Tom Banks
Sports news, results and expert commentary will be delivered directly to your inbox each week. Sign up here.