The bid for a world record 18th straight victory came to an end last night in Sydney as the All Blacks scrambled to a draw against a mixed Wallabies side.
Going into the test in Sydney there was a belief, hugely fueled by the Australian media, that the “tide was turning” and perhaps the Wallabies could upset the All Blacks. Despite the draw, there were certainly many hints of that danger factor, but in typical Wallabies fashion, they had their chances on multiple occasions to put the game away but failed to do so.
The match really didn’t live up to the hype because the wet weather conditions in Sydney didn’t allow for a fast flowing exciting game.
But make no mistake about it, the quality of rugby that the All Blacks played last night was poor, very poor.
When you look at the number of penalties, the number of handling errors, and that for the entire game the All Blacks never looked like they were going to come close to scoring a try, the result of a draw is arguably all that the men in black could have hoped for.
Was the referee a little too strict? Maybe, but he was consistent.
A draw is certainly all the All Blacks deserved, and even that claim may be pushing the envelope a little more favorably than is appropriate.
The All Blacks played like they were beaten, and how many chances did they give to the Wallabies to beat them?
The All Blacks, right until the end, left the door open for the Wallabies to win the match and they can just thank their lucky stars that the defense held up.
The Wallabies on the other hand will be kicking themselves massively. A draw is just as good as a loss for them. It isn’t often that the All Blacks allow so many opportunities for points, and had Beale kicked the goal before halftime, and had the pass to the winger been thrown a little later to set up a late Wallaby try, then the headlines would be reading a lot different today.
When you look at line breaks, and opportunities on goal for a try, the Wallabies dominated those areas all night long, yet couldn’t come up with the win.
It is a credit to the All Black defense, the only positive Steve Hansen and his men can take away from last night.