After the tension and drama of Bledisloe I, the rematch at Eden Park could not follow suit.
Rarely have Bledisloe Tests been so dominate as the 80 minutes that unfolded on Saturday night.
Sure the Wallabies have suffered some horrible defeats over the year, including in 2019 and last year, but not often have the men wearing gold been so horribly out of the game.
From start to finish the Wallabies struggled to make an impression, with errors and discipline, a shaky scrum and some head scratching decisions, making for a horribly one-sided affair that will likely see Dave Rennie make some changes to his side ahead of their next Test against Scotland on October 30.
Rennie said it would take “two to three days” to find some positives out of the 40-14 defeat, before clarifying his comments to say some positives can always be found.
One was Pete Samu, who had another strong shift. Jake Gordon’s tenacious defence was another.
But positives were few and far between on another gloomy night at Eden Park, which continued the All Blacks’ 23-match unbeaten streak going against the Wallabies.
The Wallabies weren’t helped of course by their two yellow cards, but the injury to Lalakai Foketi was a big one too because their attack suffered greatly with two non-passing centres in Len Ikitau and Jordan Petaia forming a clunky partnership.
So how did the Wallabies rate?
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Andrew Kellaway – 6
The Wallabies fullback did some nice things at the back, including a lovely spin out of a tackle near the touch line in the 29th minute to clear his line.
It was a tidy moment, which summed up most of his game.
One drop in the 48th minute.
Tom Wright – 3
Test rugby is often about playing the percentages and decision making.
Unfortunately for Wright, his decision to play on quickly from a penalty in the 26th minute blew up in his face.
The ball was lost, the All Blacks countered and soon after, off the back of their counter-attacking raid, Dave Porecki was in the sin bin and the Wallabies were down 17-0.
Earlier, he fell off a Rieko Ioane tackle in the 23rd minute. Soon after the Wallabies scored as Will Jordan got on the outside of Petaia.
Wright’s knock-on in the 64th minute summed up his night.
Suliasi Vunivalu will surely come into the frame to start on the right-wing.
Len Ikitau – 5
Another to struggle at Eden Park, Ikitau allowed Beauden Barrett to get on the inside of him and allow a big linebreak near halfway early.
Ikitau was afforded much time in space with the ball while his combination with Petaia after shifting to inside centre did not work
Lalakai Foketi – N/A
A crushing loss for the Wallabies, Foketi’s composed head and playing making ability was sorely missed.
The inside centre was forced off midway through the opening half with a serious shoulder injury.
Marika Koroibete – 5.5
The best and worst of Australia’s star winger.
His unbelievable chip and chase in the 14thh minute showcased his growing skill-set, as he won the Wallabies a lineout feed inside the All Blacks’ 22m line.
He should have scored untouched down the short side late in the first half, but put his foot in touch.
Bernard Foley – 5.5
Was the playmaker for a side that was smashed up front and had a backline spilling the ball in the back line.
He made one great tackle in the 11th minute on Ardie Savea on his own goal-line.
His decision making came to the fore in the 18th minute when he found touch near the ABs 22m line, before his intercept in the 37th minute shut down an attacking raid.
Good goal-line tackle on Bernard Foley in 11th minute from lineout.
Defensively Foley needs to improve, and that will be the big concern going forward. That said, few 10s stand up defensively when their pack is badly beaten.
Jake Gordon – 6.5
Saved his best work on the other side of the ball, with Gordon proving a hero in defence on a couple of occasions, including in the 37th minute when he ran Aaron Smith down from behind.
Harry Wilson – 6
Carried the ball well for the best part, Wilson had a reasonable return for the Wallabies.
His knock-on in the 16th minute however proved crucial, with no scores and the Wallabies finally with some territory.
Wilson departed after 48 minutes.
Pete Samu – 8
The Wallabies’ best.
Samu was strong on both side of the ball, including when he won a vital breakdown penalty in the 37th minute.
He also threw the ball back on the inside when Folau Fainga’a scored.
Rob Valetini – 7
Another one of the Wallabies’ better players, Valetini did what he has done all year and that’s run hard and bring some physicality.
Unfortunately for Valetini he was somewhat of a lone ranger.
Cadeyrn Neville – 5.5
A tough night on return for the Wallabies, Neville managed to get through some of the heavy lifting but was not able to bend the line.
He got caught at the back of a maul once, but also managed to win possession from a maul too.
Jed Holloway – 5
Perhaps somewhat unfortunate to be shown a yellow card, Holloway never intended to lift Dalton Papali’i but did so when Wilson also lifted him slightly.
It was a big moment in the game and denied the Wallabies the chance to make early in roads.
Yet Holloway managed to make up for it somewhat, making a lineout steal and showing some good work in tight.
Allan Alaalatoa – 5.5
A reliable ball-carrier in the first half, Alaalatoa didn’t put a foot wrong but was edged at the scrum.
Dave Porecki – 4.5
Not his best night, Porecki was yellow carded in a disastrous two minutes for the Wallabies.
He also was pinged on the All Blacks’ tryline for not releasing, while his pass to no one after Holloway’s lineout steal put the pressure back firmly on the Wallabies.
Pinged in 14th minute for not releasing on All’ Blacks tryline.
Pass after Holloway lineout steal but it goes to no one and error from Lalakai Foketi as the Abs go on the attack.
One not straight throw in the 42nd minute.
James Slipper (c) – 5
Struggled at the scrum but made some vital tackles in defence in the opening half.
Folau Fainga’a – 6
Scored with one of his first touches, after his Brumbies teammate Nick Frost charged down a clearing kick and Samu offloaded inside.
Fainga’a brought some fight back for the Wallabies.
Angus Bell – 5
Struggled at the scrum, where he was penalised twice (53rd min, 62nd min), but was good in the open and one a penalty in the 73rd minute for getting on the ball.
Pone Fa’amausili – N/A
High shot in 76th minute, leading to three points.
Nick Frost – 5
Charge down that led to Fainga’a’s try for the Wallabies.
Frost also got the timing wrong from a kick restart in the 78th minute.
Fraser McReight – 6
Brought a lot of energy and make a breakdown steal in the 70th minute after Nic White first-up tackle.
Nic White – 5.5
Tried to up the tempo, but the game was done and dusted when the replacement halfback came on.
Reece Hodge – N/A
A late arrival in the match.
Jordan Petaia – 4.5
The utility back’s career is at an early crossroads.
Petaia looks disinterested at times and was gassed on the outside in defence, leading to Will Jordan’s opening try.
His absolute shocker of a spill in the 61st minute with ball-in-hand wasn’t the first time, as he lost control of the ball with no-one around him.
Petaia’s a confidence player, but all is not right for the back.
His last minute try, and some strength in contact, needs to be showed to him in replays for the 2019 World Cup breakout star to rediscover his confidence.