Jed Holloway

By Daniel Cullinane

Twitter: @dcullinane02

It was a feisty build-up to this second test between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park. All the talk had been about the controversial decision for time-wasting that ended the Wallabies chances of winning the Bledisloe cup in the first test. The reckless action of lock Darcy Swain, and the claims that the Wallabies had disrespected the haka. The potential for a heated contest was high.

Australia got the game under way and quickly put pressure on New Zealand with a break by Jed Holloway, who charged into the All Blacks 22. He quickly undid his good work by dumping Dalton Papali’i at the ruck. He was yellow-carded, and so began the rollercoaster of indiscipline that appears to be blighting the Australian game.

New Zealand on the other hand, were lifting their game and showing early dominance. A strong scrum saw All Black number 8 Ardie Savea break. The ball went wide to Beauden Barrett, who turned on the after burners and then chipped, to pile the pressure on the Wallabies. The All Blacks were awarded a 5 metre scrum but Savea was unable to control the ball at the base. Australia cleared their lines.

Then a moment of magic from Wallaby wing, Marika Koroibete. A break down the midfield followed by a chip, catch, and grubber to put huge pressure on the New Zealanders in their own 22. Again, the Wallabies infringed, leading to a kickable penalty for Richie Mo’unga. 3-0 to the All Blacks. Wing; Will Jordan soon built on the score with a fine break and subsequent try. Mo’unga made it 10-0.

Australia was creaking badly and the pressure was clearly affecting their thinking. Tom Wright confirmed this by taking a quick tap penalty from an eminently kickable position and an almost guaranteed 3 points. Another penalty by Wallaby skipper James Slipper led to a New Zealand lineout in the Aussie 22. Afterwards, a powerful maul forced a penalty try and yet another yellow card for Australia. David Porecki left the field for 10 minutes. Half time arrived and the score was 17-0; New Zealand were flying.

In the second half, the All Blacks carried on where they had left off. Within 2 minutes, they scored through captain Sam Whitelock. Mo’unga converted to make the score 24-0. The All Blacks had by now recognised that the Wallabies couldn’t live with them in the set piece. Again, they went to the lineout. Again they formed a driving maul and powered over the Aussie line. This time it was Codie Taylor on the scoresheet. The conversion was missed. 32-0 to the All Blacks.

At last the Australians fired a shot when Nick Frost charged down a New Zealand kick in their 22. Pete Samu collected the ball and surged forwards. Support came from replacement hooker Folau Fainga’a, who charged over the line. Bernard Foley kicked the conversion; Points on the boards. 32-7.

The All Blacks responded almost immediately with another pushover try from the lineout. Samisoni Taukei’aho the scorer.

In the 76th minute, Richie Mo’unga had another shot at goal to make it 40-7. The Aussies would have the final word in a very one-sided game when a determined Jordan Petaia forced his way over. The try was converted. The final score 40-14 to New Zealand. It was a dominant display from the men in black. Probably their best performance in the tournament.

The All Blacks were sharp, their set piece was outstanding, and they were clinical when they needed to be. Australia has some big issues to deal with. Their discipline has been woeful since their test series defeat to England back in July. They have spent large parts of the Rugby Championship playing with less than fifteen men on the field. Going forward, the lack of leadership is clearly a problem they must address if they are to be successful.

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What a way to finish Round 9 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific as we turn our attention between the Australian and New Zealand teams battling each other with six rounds left to go. NSW Waratahs were off to a stellar start in the 1st half with a decent lead ahead of half-time at 7-24, while Western Force began to make up lost time with three tries on the board in the 2nd half alone. However, the game has already handed over to the Tahs by that stage when they’re too good to pull off a comfortable win at HBF Park in Perth. The final score is 24-41.

NSW Waratahs looked outstanding; left, right, center, tonight; on all fronts. Their first-half spell was unbelievable when the Tahs rack up three tries on the board off the back of the Force’s poor start, such as; Mark Nawaquanitawase, Lalakai Foketi & Michael Hooper. And they continued to extend their winning margin alongside the double try brace from Alex Newsome after the half-time break, even though there were some mistakes with the ill-discipline and that blunder at one point from Dylan Pietsch on the left-wing. It’s nice to see the Tahs high & flying now in 5th on the ladder under new coach Darren Coleman; players such as Michael Hooper & Jed Holloway, who have returned from overseas, will play a key role in their playoff push & the development of the Tahs youngsters.

Western Force just still held on to their place within the Playoffs bubble in 8th; they need to start acting fast now if they want to stay there, especially with the New Zealand teams around the corner for the remaining six rounds this season beginning next weekend. There’s no problem with their defensive shape that helped the Force win a couple of penalties. Although, they can be patient when building some pressure with the ball going forward. However, they only dominated the 2nd half alone with three tries on top of one lone big score in the first 40. They need more support with the executions & cut the ill-discipline from the start if the Force wants to stay in this fight by winning games.

The Tahs will open the Super Round at 6 pm AEST with the Chiefs from Waikato in Hamilton, NZ, where all of the Round 10 games are held at AAMI Park in Melbourne next Friday. Meanwhile, the Force has an opportunity to strike back when they take on Moana Pasifika straight after this Tahs v Chiefs match-up at 8.30 pm AEST.

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After a winless 2021 campaign of 13 games, the Waratahs have finally ended their long-running drought last night with a comfortable 40-10 win v Fijian Drua at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, NSW.

It’s great to see the Tahs forward pack make up most of the work earlier on in the 1st half at 21-3, where Will Harris and Dave Porecki added a couple of big scores through the TRY line with credit to the Drua’s dirty work via the advantage. They’re able to build on that comfortable start after the break when another forward at tighthead in Angus Bell produced two brilliant finishes, one for an assist to Inside midfielder, Lalakai Foketi, and another for himself thanks to the offload from the returning Jed Holloway on the second row. And their skipper at half-back, Jake Gordon stole a messy Drua attacking shape, when he intercepted the ball on the 10-metre line & ran over halfway on the run home that summed up the Tahs flying start to 2022.

Meanwhile, the Fijian Drua may not get what they wanted with the loss during their first game at Super Rugby level. Their series of disciplinary mistakes not only worsened their defense but also limited their time in the attack against the Tahs territory, especially at one point in the 2nd half. They just rushed through it with numbers all over the place, before Jake Gordon exploited their weakness & ran off over half the pitch towards the touch zone that cost more huge points on the board. There are some moments made, however, when fly-half Baden Kerr scored their first-ever points on the board, while we covered skipper & No.8 Nemani Nagusa on the Top 3 players list, who scored the Drua’s first-ever TRY later in the 2nd half. It’s still early days though as it will take time to become competitive, especially when facing the Australian and New Zealand teams regularly.

The Tahs will remain at home next week, but this time they will be at Leichardt Oval where they will welcome another State of Origin rivalry v the Queensland Reds, who will be facing the Melbourne Rebels at (Suncorp Stadium) home in Brisbane tonight.

Meanwhile, the Drua will head off to Canberra for another tough encounter v Brumbies at GIO Stadium next Saturday at 2.35 pm.

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Congratulations to incoming Waratahs coach Darren Coleman who just guided the LA Giltinis to an Major League Rugby Championship on their first ever season.

This is a massive achievement through a group of star-studded characters that can pass on these hometown players & learn a thing or two from them at this club.

It’s something Darren would do to bring this vibe when he returns home from Los Angeles later this year, as we haven’t seen much of this kind of structure since Michael Chieka left after 2015.

As it stands you got Jake Gordon, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Lalakai Foketi, Ben Donaldson, Alex Newsome & Angus Bell staying on, while a number of key players are coming back too such as Michael Hooper, Jed Holloway & Ned Hedigan.

And some of the new players he’d like to see at Daceyville would be the best produced & proven at club rugby level, having coached in the Shute Shield for many years including Warringah & Gordon with two titles in 2017 & 2020 respectively.

These two important characteristics shows why a three year contract is enough time for Darren to rebuild this franchise.

We’ll also see if Adam Freier and Stephen Hoiles follows Darren as well or stay in LA.

Up to the board now to back Darren with inside knowledge of the NSW rugby system & get the Tahs back to winning ways from next year regardless of the Super Rugby format.

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