The All Blacks are not yet completely healed: less than two weeks after their great success in Argentina (53-3), they suffered a thousand ailments to beat Australia (39-37) at the end of the suspense Thursday in Melbourne during the 5th day of Rugby Championhip.
Full-back Jordie Barrett sealed the fate of a crazy game that New Zealand could not escape when they led 31-13 in the 55th minute with a try after the siren, thanks in part to a brace from his hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho. Until the wind turns…
The players of Ian Foster, disputed coach, have indeed suddenly fallen back into their faults of the last few months, which have earned the usual flagship nation of world rugby to experience its worst period of the professional era.
The Wallabies, authors of three tries in 12 minutes, even thought they had ensured an incredible reversal of the situation when Nic White, from a distant penalty, put them in the lead for the first time two minutes from the end (37-34 ).
But the French referee Mathieu Raynal sanctioned for saving time, in front of his in-goal line, the Australian opener Bernard Foley, back in selection three years after his last appearance.
Result: five-meter scrum decisive for the New Zealanders, who showed character in the absence of control after having taken advantage of the missed half-time starts and the indiscipline of the Australians, sanctioned with three yellow cards. Their second line Darcy Swain can even be happy not to have been excluded for a dangerous clearing before the break on the center Quinn Tupaea, injured in the left leg on the spot.
With now three wins in five matches, New Zealand consolidates its lead at the top of the Rugby Championship before Saturday’s meeting in the suburbs of Buenos Aires between Argentina and South Africa, who both point to five lengths.
She is also guaranteed to keep the Bledisloe Cup, the trophy rewarding each year the winner of a series of tests between All Blacks and Wallabies, which she has held since 2003.
The two Oceanian rivals will face off again on Saturday September 24 at Eden Park in Auckland for the sixth and final day of the tournament.