Thank for pow­er­ing their side home

Herald on Sunday - - SPORT -

Af­ter fail­ing to stamp his mark on the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions se­ries, Bar­rett was due a big match and his side owe him a big debt of grat­i­tude.

In trou­ble early, the All Blacks switched to Plan B and heavy ar­tillery pounded the visi­tors into sub­mis­sion in a re­mark­able show of power which al­lowed them to get a foot-hold on the match.

The Wal­la­bies couldn’t han­dle the All Blacks’ scrum, it was as sim­ple as that, and credit here has to go to Nepo Laulala, called into the No 3 jer­sey on Thurs­day due to Owen Franks’ Achilles ten­don in­jury and who put in a very good shift.

He is a lump of a man who can clearly scrum­mage. He can also de­fend. For­mer skip­per Stephen Moore was col­lat­eral dam­age at the end of the first half, and while the vis­it­ing pack did well not to con­cede penal­ties early on as their scrum failed to get out of re­verse, they couldn’t hold out for ever.

His front row part­ner Dane Coles, back for his first test this year, had a few rea­sons to be pleased, too.

He got through 67 min­utes be­fore mak­ing way for Codie Tay­lor — an­other step com­pleted in his re­turn from con­cus­sion.

So, pack ex­cel­lent, the rest — Bar­rett apart — not so much. They still had a sur­pris­ing amount of work to do to win this one.

It went pear-shaped pretty quickly for the All Blacks at the start un­der the roof in what was a bizarre re­peat of last week’s Bledis­loe Cup test.

This time, it was the All Blacks con­ced­ing the turnovers — they coughed up 10 to the Wal­la­bies’ six in the first half.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said they were se­duced by the score­board in the sec­ond half last week­end.

This time, they were se­duced by the idea they could break through the Wal­la­bies mid­field with­out first earn­ing the right. Sonny Bill Wil­liams had ter­ri­ble trou­ble with his han­dling and the pass­ing in gen­eral wasn’t up to scratch.

There will be ques­tions asked about the un­forced mis­takes they made, the lack of com­po­sure at times when there re­ally didn’t seem that much pres­sure on.

It al­lowed a Wal­la­bies team, which de­fended far bet­ter than in the first test, to build mo­men­tum.

This de­feat will hurt the Aus­tralians.

A vic­tory against the odds would have been just the boost they needed af­ter a hor­ror 12 months.

In­stead the Wal­la­bies had to watch as the Bledis­loe Cup was pre­sented to the All Blacks for an­other year af­ter al­most get­ting a grip on it them­selves.

The Wal­la­bies couldn’t han­dle the All Blacks’ scrum, it was as sim­ple as that.

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