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Rugby Australia

Great to have Super Rugby back for another year in 2024, especially on a Saturday night that began with the long-running Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs rivalry as this week’s game of the round at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. It was a close first half where the Waratahs showed some intent in the way they spotted a few Reds mistakes before they cashed in with the rewards on hand, while the home side benefitted from winning penalties every time when they have the ball in hand going forward & they are the ones who has the upper hand at the break, 21-15. But the 2nd half is all about the Reds where they continued to keep on scoring before being too good in the end as the new era under head coach Les Kiss is off to a great start with a comfortable victory on home soil, 40-22. Next weekend’s games will be under the one roof during the Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne with Crusaders v Waratahs on next Saturday night & Hurricanes v Reds next Sunday afternoon. Time will tell if the Australian teams really mean business this season since the NZ teams have entered into a completely new chapter with lots of musical chairs amongst coaches and even players over the course of the off-season.

Tate McDermott has been a revelation in the Reds attack at No.9 (half-back) whose performance tonight has played a key role in his team’s huge win v the Waratahs. He’s great communicating with his players while unleashing the pace and physicality every time the Reds has the ball on hand. All of this is so important in getting the job done when making the most of the counter-attack as this is how Les Kiss wanted the Reds to play and gotta say it’s so far, so good with McDermott vowing to keep that rebuilding phase onto the next step in the weeks to come. There’s another Reds player who will be there to bring back the glory is experienced Alex Hodgman on the front row at loosehead. He too benefitted from winning penalties where he has the tall reach & packed meat combined to plow himself past the Waratahs players with scrums and tries being won under his watch. There’s life after Taniela Tupou in the props when you got someone onboard who has previous Super Rugby experience in New Zealand and he could even play for the Wallabies too soon enough thanks to his Australian-born father.

And Mark Nawaqanitawase had a really long evening on the wide right for the Waratahs where he has outstanding vision as being tested in defense while he can get his side out of trouble every time the opportunity is there whenever the ball is right near or with him. There’s a reason why he’s more than a Super Rugby player in the Wallabies shirt as Mark will be missed when he will play for the Sydney Roosters in 2025 & 2026. Even though he did his best to try and stop the Reds from scoring, his side unfortunately wasn’t happy with the discipline/lost penalties before more mistakes went against them at his own end later on & this is something the Waratahs will need to watch out if they wish to get themselves back on track this season.

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Things are going from bad to worse at the Melbourne Rebels who are operating by little by little now. First of all, they’ve entered voluntary administration 1-2 weeks ago while they were owed lots of money in debt. Now not only a few of their staff including the board were forced to leave but also they have just $17,300 left with just a few pieces of office furniture, gym equipment & two cars. Although they will be playing out this season since the fixtures have already been laid out for the over the next few months as there’s no way back, but still no guarantee the Rebels will return in 2025 which will be highly unlikely. 

It will be devastating to see Rugby leave Melbourne where they’ve been the host of the three-day annual Super Round weekend for a few years, which isn’t too far away now for Round 2 at the start of March. They also hosted the home Bledisloe Cup games when the Wallabies v All Blacks over the last two years (2022 at Marvel Stadium & 2023 at MCG) & will be hosting Wales during the 2nd mid-year tour match in mid-July at AAMI Park. Yes, they have also produced a few Wallabies players of their own over the last few years & not being able to play for a local professional team like the Rebels like underage level & then into Super Rugby before stepping up at International level would see them end up elsewhere. Regardless of what happens, there will always be some people wanting to play rugby from a young age in Melbourne & across Victoria.

But if you look at the on-field results however, they barely do anything good apart from the rare 9th placed finish back in 2018 when they benefited from Western Force’s axing from Super Rugby at the time. You might also tell that they do have a great line-up of players too from the off-season despite a huge mess off the field lately, but don’t think it will make much of a difference when all of the players’ contracts including the coaching staff under Kevin Foote will last through the end of June.

Look it’s so hard to tell having looked at options to see the Rebels live on such as merging with another team like the ACT Brumbies from Canberra and even Moana Pasifika. But no matter what you think whether or not if the merged squad would be even stronger, it’s unfortunately not a good idea when merging two teams would see plenty of uproar amongst fans in the Rugby community here. That means, you will be taking out the history they’ve built for such a long time like 27 years & it won’t be good to see that kind of value go, who fear the team they support will soon be gone under a different location & new team identity. It means a lot to them & that will be irreplaceable as Rugby Australia never wanted to do it anyway.

Now here’s what will happen if the Rebels meet their comeuppance, as said, it would be so sad to lose an Australian Super Rugby side as RA always wanted to keep all five teams in order to have a national footprint, which is understandable. 

But the results and lack of silverware including their worst ever World Cup last year is still weighing against them over the last 20 + years as the question is can they support five teams? The answer is no unfortunately because RA proved that they are unable to make room to support themselves financially for all five Super Rugby teams in order to have the best success as we will be down to four after this with the Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, ACT Brumbies & Western Force. Yes, there were rumours about the Brumbies also entering the same way (voluntary administration) as the Rebels, who are also running tight on funds. But considering their strong on-field presence year-long round that includes making the Finals every year where they went all the way as the only Australian team here to the semi-finals meaning it will be too difficult to see them go.

Even so with four teams here that was done on more than a few occasions, they still haven’t translated much success into International level as the Wallabies used to enjoy dominating on the field with just three Super Rugby teams of Reds, Waratahs & Brumbies back then in the 1990s & early 2000s. So is abandoning the national footprint plan for a pro-rugby state strategy that would finally see the Wallabies return to winning ways just like Rugby League does mostly in NSW & QLD? This could finally be the answer with the Western Force from Perth either playing in Japan or relaunching their own comp in Global Rapid Rugby considering Andrew Forrest has lots of cash in the bank. They are a side that has been in and out off the comp for a long time since 2006 whose form weren’t bad during most home games last year but still yet never made the finals.

In the meantime, Rugby Australia has lots of issues to address where the silverware cabinet has been mostly empty other than the rare 2011 Tri Nations & 2015 Rugby Championship as time will tell soon enough with or without the Melbourne Rebels.

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We are about to enter the 28th year of Super Rugby & yet things are still not the same as it once was back in the glorious 1990s-early 2000s when Australia (Wallabies) benefited so much success right until the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Yes, they won just three Super Rugby championships ever since but that doesn’t mean they are on the same standard as their Tasman neighbours, New Zealand. There has been so many changes through the off-season with regards to musical chairs at players and coaching staff amongst multiple teams. Waratahs handed over control to Rugby Australia recently while the Reds got a new head coach. Plus, Brumbies staying strong as the leading Super Rugby team here, as well as Western Force who are looking to return to the finals with the recruitment of some experienced players. And this week, the Melbourne Rebels entered voluntary administration even though they will continue to play just for this season, despite some star hirings of their own.

Over in New Zealand, most of the five teams (Blues, Hurricanes & of course Crusaders) except Chiefs & Highlanders will now have new head coaches where most of them from last year have joined Scott Robertson at the All Blacks as the Crusaders will begin a brand new era in 2024 without him. He was the one who delivered so many Super Rugby championships including last year’s final v Chiefs & it remains to be seen if the Crusaders can keep on winning including delivering another championship under former Waratahs coach Rob Penney. And for the Highlanders, they are under a big rebuilding phase with Jamie Joseph back onboard to try & return to its former glory as the head of rugby after they missed the Top 8 finals bubble in 9th last year.

We also don’t forget the two Pasifika teams to round off the line-up with Fijian Drua coming off from a great second season before they were elminated by the Crusaders in the last 8 as winning away from home would be the great next step to stay in the Top 8 & Moana Pasifika needs more time so they can really win games after they finished last over the last two seasons.

This year could be a great opportunity to see an even/level playing field where it’s Australia’s time at last to catch up to NZ but despite there will be some really close games, the outcome won’t change much where we will see a New Zealand winner once again whether it’s going to be the Crusaders or Blues or Chiefs by surprise whereas the Brumbies will continue being the best Australian Super Rugby team. Likewise in previous seasons though, the Brumbies will unfortunately still be nowhere near the Grand Final radar either in the quarter or semi finals. Yes, Rugby Australia is going with the high performance centralisation system alongside Joe Schmidt as their new head coach in the hope of also winning games again following a disastrous group stage campaign for the first time ever at last year’s World Cup in France. But the question remains to be seen whether or not if they can support five teams, having seen the Rebels fall into trouble off the field this week? While there will always going to be some Victorian/Melbourne born talent, there’s no guarantee that the Rebels will continue to play at AAMI Park going into 2025 and beyond. For now, the new season will start on Friday 23rd February right until mid-June where every game is live and Ad-Free on Stan Sport while there’s always a Saturday night game being simulcast via free-to-air on 9Gem.

Predicting ladder 2024

  1. Crusaders (champions)
  2. Chiefs (then semi-finalists)
  3. Blues (runners-up)
  4. ACT Brumbies (then semi-finalists)
  5. Hurricanes
  6. NSW Waratahs
  7. Queensland Reds
  8. Highlanders
  9. Fijian Drua
  10. Western Force
  11. Melbourne Rebels
  12. Moana Pasifika
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Just saw an extract from Code Sports and also The Roar earlier today about Steve Hansen wanting to help out a review of the state Rugby Union is in right now across Australia which is clearly worse and worser as it gets. I agreed with Stephen Hoiles the other day and Steve Hansen that we should cut an Australian Super Rugby side, but it’s even better if they cut two sides in order to go back to the things that made them once successful of having just three good quality teams (Brumbies, Reds & Waratahs) at the highest level. There is something he suggested a bit differently though to this is that the ACT Brumbies should merge with the Melbourne Rebels. He understands that Rugby is an International sport while more games would help gather revenue when it comes to showing Super Rugby across TV & attendances in-person at Stadiums, but then Brumbies fans don’t like this idea at all where it has been revisited several times throughout their 27-year existence.

Okay, they’re best Super Rugby side here for a long time where they won two trophies (2001 & 2004) plus the 2020 Super Rugby AU trophy. Plus, they’re the only side who made the semis every year since 2019 and these are all true. It would’ve also been better if the Wallabies squad was full of Brumbies players rather than a mixture of players being selected from other states which is impossible. But at the same time, they’re small commercially where the Brumbies were under threat at one point several years ago while still thriving on the pitch despite its small geographical population & an incompetent board.

Plus, we still don’t know if the ACT Government will commit building a new 30,000 seater Canberra Stadium over in the Civic area that would probably be the end of GIO Stadium currently located in the Bruce region.

It’s hard to say when you look back at the club’s history but even though people here don’t like this, the merged Brumbies side will still play half of the home games in Canberra while the other half will see them play at AAMI Park in Melbourne. That way, the Brumbies will get a metro following while Canberra still retains some existence like the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds & Western Force as well as the other five NZ Super Rugby teams. Also, the squad would get somewhat better where only a handful of good talented players from Melbourne (Imagine Carter Gordon playing with Ryan Lonergan or Harrison Goddard at No.10) will be rewarded to play alongside most of the Canberra & Southern NSW based team-mates. Not only they can learn from these players through the senior and its academy squad, but it could also help them win more regular-season games as well as make the big Final every 1-2 years which is almost certainly a guarantee in Australian Super Rugby history. 

Aussie sports fans would love seeing this happen in the hope of winning the Super Rugby trophy that would definitely translate into Wallabies success as well as us rugby fans here and of course, Melbournians, who love seeing their favourite team and/or sport thrive at home whether if it’s AFL (Aussie Rules) or the Melbourne Storm in Rugby League (NRL).

All in all, things would be better if the Rebels and Force play either in a revived National Tier 2 comp or the Top League in Japan so that the Brumbies can continue its own identity out of just Canberra and Southern NSW & continue playing Super Rugby alongside just the NSW Waratahs & Queensland Reds. But if both options aren’t possible, then maybe the Brumbies-Rebels merger would be Rugby Australia’s last resort if they really do intend to cut a Super Rugby side. The competition right now in Melbourne is far too inferior for RA when trying to pit Rugby against other winter Football codes where most boys will want to pick up a Sherrin over a Gilbert ball as we can’t keep on being mediocre at best.

And as said, I don’t have anything against the Western Force which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be playing Rugby out of Perth, Western Australia. If they survive the axe, we’ll have to wait & see if they do help the Wallabies get back to their best again when it comes to on-field results but then we’ve been there twice before with four teams and it doesn’t seem to have helped the cause that much. Instead, their best bet is for them (Western Force) to play elsewhere where they either revive their own comp (Global Rapid Rugby between 2018-early 2020) or join the Japanese Top League. The level of Rugby they play as well as the same day time zone fits the Force perfectly amongst the other Japanese Top League or Asian-based teams there.

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Yes, first and foremost I agreed with Stephen Hoiles that our Super Rugby system here in Australia is broken. But I don’t agree that one team should be dropped out like it was 5-6 years ago when we didn’t win a lot with four Australian teams from 2006-2010 as well as 2018-2020 until COVID has changed things unexpectedly from there.

Instead, I think that dropping two teams would be for the best for Rugby Union in Australia where the Western Force & Melbourne Rebels can get International experience elsewhere, while we go back to the system that worked so well for us before with just the ACT Brumbies, NSW Waratahs & Queensland Reds. That way, you only need three top-quality teams in order to do well not just against our New Zealand counterparts, but it would also help our Wallabies get back to their best again where we can win silverwares regularly & be Top 3-4 instead of sitting around 9th-13th right now.

We also know & understand that Rugby Union here is an International sport. How come New Zealand has lots of Rugby teams where they got five in Super Rugby & the rest down to the Tier 2 National Provincial Championship comp? We should do the same with three Super Rugby teams & the rest elsewhere. But otherwise, there’s always the Top League over in Japan, who should bring both the Rebels & Force over from Super Rugby. It’s the kind of standard that suits them (Rebels & Force) perfectly when facing a bunch of other Japanese teams that includes the same day time zone as well. 

So all in all, we’d be all for it if Rugby Australia downsizes from five to three Super Rugby teams going forward. At the same time though, we want the Force & Rebels play in Japan and/or through a new National 2nd Tier comp as we have nothing against them. It’s just the fact that they’re both not Super Rugby standard and it’s been hurting us for a long time.

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It’s time to be very honest and upfront to the board at Rugby Australia that this isn’t working where we keep on losing matches time & time again without any regular silverware for a very long time. 

First of all, please go back to having just three Super Rugby teams – NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds & ACT Brumbies. It’s something that worked before in the past and they should look to either create a national 2nd tier comp involving both Western Force & Melbourne Rebels or send both teams to some Asia-Pacific comp or even the Top League in Japan where they can compliment each other very well at that kind of standard.

Have a look at South Africa when they had to cut back 2 Super Rugby teams & sending them over to Europe at the same time back in late 2017? It actually worked out well for them, having went on to win a World Cup a few years ago while being able to beat the All Blacks occasionally which is what we should exactly be doing. They’re even one of the four favourite teams to take home this year’s World Cup too & despite not having the Cheetahs onboard when playing against International opposition sometimes in an annual European rugby comp right now, things are currently on the up for them.

Now yes, not everything we suggest can be perfect as we all see Rugby as an International sport compared to Rugby League & Aussie Rules Football. But then with League, they don’t have a Perth & Adelaide team & yet it’s going so well for them being as the fastest game in the country & even on earth. You might also argue that the Melbourne Storm is one of the most successful teams out in League but that sport is also observed by all Aussies, not Rugby where Melbourians would rather pick up a Football and play AFL, VFL or League with the Storm than playing Rugby for the Rebels. 

So no room to have another footy code there sadly no matter how much effort they put in to have an annual Super Round as well as the home Bledisloe Cup test match v All Blacks. The same goes to Perth where they’re not a traditional Rugby state despite a whole heap of investments thanks to Andrew Forrest, but the results isn’t there to back it up compared to our traditional state teams as it’s best if the Force & Rebels play elsewhere – nothing against them. All we want is for Rugby Australia to realise their potential in Super Rugby that would in turn help them win games again v the top International teams as not only we’re frustrated but NZ Rugby as well when the ABs are beginning to slip away from the Top 3-4 thanks to us here.

Please do us a favour and go back to the way things were that made Australia once successful in all fronts before both in Super Rugby (you only need three teams to be really successful v NZ teams every weekend in order to win championships) & Wallabies (selection structure would help too) while maintaining the national footprint by having a National Tier 2 comp or send both Western Force & Melbourne Rebels to another comp as well as investing more in grassroots elsewhere.

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  • Match: Wales vs Australia
  • Series: Autumn International
  • Venue: Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales
  • Date & Time: Saturday, 26th November 2022 at 3pm local time/Sunday, 27th November 2022 at 2.15 am AEDT

Points Summary

WalesAustralia
Rio Dyer 51′
Jac Morgan 9′, 46′
Taulupe Feletau 21′
TriesLachlan Lonergan 77′
Penalty Try 72′
Mark Nawaqanitawase 57′, 67′
Folau Faingaa 33′
Gareth Anscombe 10′, 22′, 47′, 52′ConversionsNoah Lolesio 68′, 78′
Ben Donaldson 34′
Gareth Anscombe 18′, 27′Penalty GoalsBen Donaldson 3′, 14′
  • Wales & Australia ended their 2022 campaigns by playing one of the games of the year in Cardiff, as the Wallabies came back from a huge 21-point deficit to win 39-34, scoring the winning try with just 100 seconds on the clock.
  • The first-half started off brilliantly for Wales, after Jac Mprgan crashed over to finish off a move sparked by a speedy line break from veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones. Wales kept their good on the pedal and were soon over again, after Taulupe Feletau crased over out wide. The two sides exchanged two penalties over the course of the first-half, and Folau Faingaa’s TRY from the maul gave Australia some parity at the break, trailing the hosts by 20 points to 13.
  • The second half started in an even more rapid-fire style for the hosts, who crossed once more within moments when Morgan grounded at the back of a rolling maul. They shipped it wide for another try, which was finished in the left-hand corner by Rio Dyer. Australia had seen two men sent to the sin-bin by this point, and the Wallabies looked dead and buried with the score at 34-13 in Wales’s favor.
  • The Wallabies, however, came back, and came back firing alright. Winger Mark Nawaqanitawase had been relatively quiet for much of the game, but he burst into life in the second-half, crossing in the corner to give the Wallabies their first points of the second period. He soon scored their second five-pointer, darting from the back of a line-out to race clear and dot down again as the momentum began to shift. A trip from Wales captain Justin Tipuric reduced the home side to 14 men, and with the last 10 minutes approaching, the game only looked to be going one way.

Match Preview

  • In the first half, Wales began to spread their offense with Morgan’s try in the 9th minute. Wales had 20 points at half time. Although Donaldson scored a penalty goal in 3rd minutes. With that Wallabies started to get points. But they only scored 13 points in the 1st half. Wales had 20:13 lead in the 1st half.
  • In the Second half, although Wales showed an aggressive style of play. The Wallabies also showed a skillful style of play and the 2 tries that got the Mark Nawaqanitawase were outstanding. In this way Wallabies went to victory by collecting 39 points with 5 tries.

Winning Wallabies end brutal tour in perfect way

  • Christmas came 29 days early for Australia, as the Wallabies mounted the most heroic of heroic comebacks to turn that game around in the dying moments. Their fifth and final Test of an autumn campaign that has at times looked hapless ended in brilliant fashion, with several of their fringe players coming to the fore. Nawaqanitawase in particular announced himself to the world today, and with the World Cup on the horizon, results like these can certainly buoy Australian rugby going into 2023. 

What’s next for Wales?

  • Wayne Pivac’s Wales have now completed their autumn international schedule for 2022, having picked up a win over Argentina, and defeats vs New Zealand, Georgia and Australia. They are next in action at the 2023 Six Nations, where they start against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday, February 4.
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• Match: Ireland v Australia
• Series: Autumn International/Autumn Nations Series
• Venue​​: Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland
• Time ​: Sunday, 20th Nov. 2022 (7 AM Australian Eastern Daylight time)/Saturday, 19th Nov. 2022 (8 PM local time)

Points Summary

IrelandAustralia
Bundee Aki 66′TriesJordan Petaia 70′
Jack Crowley 67′ConversionsBernard Foley 71′
Jack Crowley 9′
Ross Byrne 75′
Penalty GoalsBernard Foley 55′
Yellow CardsFolau Faingaa’ 36′

• The Aviva Stadium in Dublin bore witness to a test match between Ireland and Australia that would best be described as a ‘slog’. With just 23 points scored in the entire game, the two sides played out a gripping, but not particularly pretty encounter, which was won late on from the boot of Ross Byrne, who was drafted in to the Ireland squad just minutes ahead of kick-off.

• Going for a third victory out of three against the Southern Hemisphere’s traditional rugby playing powers, Ireland were dealt a blow before a ball had been kicked, with their captain and World Rugby player of the year nominee Johnny Sexton ruled out, having picked up a calf injury in the warm-up. 22-year-old Jack Crowley came into the XV to make his first start, and kicked a 10th minute penalty to get Ireland on the board.

• Australia thought they had opened the scoring even earlier though, after Nic White darted from dummy half to ground the ball after just four minutes. However, play was brought back for an Irish penalty, after the TMO spotted an illegal neck roll by Australia in the preceding ruck. That was to begin a half of missed opportunities for Australia, who spent plenty of time entrenched in Ireland’s 22, but finished the first 40 minutes scoreless, and trailing 3-0.

• The try-scoring action finally began in the last quarter of an hour, after replacement centre Bundee Aki crashed over from close range following a sustained spell of pressure on the Australian line. Ireland thought that might seal the game, but the Wallabies hit straight back as their back-line clicked into gear, allowing Jordan Petaia to scythe through the cover defence and skid into score in the corner. With both of these tries converted, the game was again level heading into the final moments.

• Those two five-pointers were as good as it got on the try-scoring front though, with the game soon returning to a slow-moving battle of inches as the two sets of players fought for control. Ireland gained a late penalty, and Ross Byrne, drafted in at the 11th hour to cover for Crowley on the bench, notched a sideline penalty to re-take a three-point lead for Ireland, and the hosts saw out the remaining four minutes to seal a momentous victory in Dublin.

Match Preview

• The Australian team showed a good aggressive style of play in the both half of the game. But no matter how hard Australia tried, they couldn’t score much points. Tried several times to score tries, but they managed to score only one try.

• In the first half, the Irish team was leading by 3:0. In the 2nd Half Australia started to pile on the points but with Bundee Aki’s try and couple of penalty goals won the match for Ireland.

Wounded Wallabies must find way to win

• Australia have now lost three of the four games they’ve played in the Northern Hemisphere this autumn, and this is the first one that has been settled by more than a single point

• Australia have one more chance to win a match in 2022, as they head to Wales next weekend, but with France 2023 nearing ever closer, the Wallabies must find a way to see off a game that hangs in the balance, particularly when the chips are down and the stakes are high.

Dour victory won’t hamper Irish spirit

• The best teams know how to win, be it with flashy moves to score bucket-loads of points, or by grinding out every possible point to suffocate their opposition into submission.

• Winning ugly is certainly one way to prepare for the latter stages of a World Cup, and with their 2022 campaign done and dusted, Ireland will now set their sights on the 2023 edition in France.

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Australia kicked off their Autumn internationals against old foes Scotland at Murrayfield stadium in a tight contest that saw them run out 16-15 winners.

Despite Australia having won 21 out of the 33 matches against the men in blue, they’d been the losing side in their last 3 Tests and were looking for a turnaround in fortunes.

FIRST HALF

The Aussies started strongly but were met by a strong Scottish defence that twice prevented a try in the opening 10 minutes by winning a foul. Tate McDermott was causing Scotland havoc with his direct running and offloads at key moments but it was home team that managed to get on the scoreboard first.

Ollie Smith, making his Murrayfield debut, made fantastic use of a blind pass by Blair Kinghorn to fly through a gap in the Aussie defence, darting past one defender before scoring a fantastic try. Kinghorn missed the conversion and the 5 point lead didn’t last long. Australia won a penalty just 3 minutes later and fly-half Bernard Foley made no mistake, cutting the deficit to 3 points.

Australia continued to put pressure on the Scotland defence, but again were met by a wall that refused to back down. As the half-time whistle drew close, a scuffle between the two sides broke out and Australia were handed the opportunity to take the lead. Foley, having scored the first kick with ease, maintained his 100% record in the game by splitting the posts and Australia went into the tunnel, 6-5 ahead.

Half-Time: Scotland 5-6 Australia

The crowd roared when the men from Scotland re-entered the field and they were duly rewarded for their enthusiasm just 3 minutes later.

Scotland’s Centre Mark Bennett put in a big tackle in the middle of the pitch and causing a spill. Kinghorn kicked the ball with his feet to good use, smashing it deep into the Wallaby half and chasing it down before it popped up into his arms for him to dive across the line. Kinghorn then scored the conversion, giving the Scottish a 12-6 lead.

Australia were struggling to keep control of the game as they’d done so well in the first half and small mistakes were starting to show. A penalty inside the Aussies 22 handed Kinghorn another 3 points, and Scotland a 9 point cushion. In the 55th minute Australia were given a man advantage after a dangerous tackle was deemed just a yellow to Lock Glen Young. The men in yellow looked to take advantage of the extra man and they did so fantastically on the hour mark.

Good movement and passing on the left-hand side of the field pushed Scotland back to their 22, then a quick switch of direction to the opposite side helped gave Australia’s captain James Slipper an easy try. Foley scored the conversion to make it a 2 point game. Australia’s fightback continued when they won a penalty on the right-hand side of the posts and Foley stepped up to score the critical 3 points.

With just 10 minutes to go and Australia ahead by a single point, fans of both teams were on the edge of their seats! Both teams were right at each other, ready to capitalise on any mistake the other made, knowing that any further score could possibly end the match.

With 2 minutes left, Australia were penalised for holding onto the ball in a ruck and gave Kinghorn the chance to win it. The wind was blowing hard and the kick was hit too wide to the left of the posts, handing Australia the win.

Full-Time: Scotland 15-16 Australia

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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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