Im­pres­sive win but not cup fi­nal

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By STEVEN SA­MUELS

AGREAT at­mos­phere at Eden Park as 50,000 spec­ta­tors crammed in to see the All Blacks play their trans-Tas­man ri­vals.

For­tu­nately I was able to be at the game.

It was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence walk­ing with the crowd down the road to­wards the en­trance of the sta­dium where you could feel the buzz in the ad­vanc­ing crowd.

Once in­side the ASB stand we found our seats and took in the new south stand which is very im­pres­sive.

Im­me­di­ately in front of me was a large group of Aus­tralians decked out in bright yel­low jack­ets, con­spic­u­ous in a sea of black.

The at­mos­phere built to a frenzy as the two teams lined up for their na­tional an­thems.

The Aus­tralian an­them was first and you could tell from the singing that they were well rep­re­sented.

A roar of an­tic­i­pa­tion erupted as the All Blacks formed for the haka, which to the crowd’s de­light was Kapo o Pango.

This told me that the All Blacks were re­ally lay­ing down a chal­lenge to the Wal­la­bies.

Fi­nally the game kicked off with the Wal­la­bies re­ceiv­ing the ball.

The open­ing few min­utes were fast and in­tense with the All Blacks ab­sorb­ing early pres­sure to even­tu­ally take the lead through a Dan Carter penalty goal.

Shortly af­ter that Ma’a Nonu bull­dozed his way over for the first try ex­tend­ing our lead to eight points the con­ver­sion mak­ing it 10-0.

The All Blacks dom­i­nated most of the first half even­tu­ally scor­ing the sec­ond try through Keven Mealamu bur­row­ing over from close range to lead by 17 at the half­time break.

The si­lence of the Aus­tralian sup­port­ers was mu­sic to my ears but once the sec­ond half started, they didn’t have to wait long. Kurt­ley Beale com­bined with Digby Ioane who charged through Mu­li­aina’s at­tempted tackle for a try.

Their ela­tion was short lived as im­me­di­ately af­ter the restart Con­rad Smith man­aged to snaf­fle the ball and feed the pass to Si­vi­vatu to score, putting the game out of Wallaby reach for good.

The green and golds man­aged a late con­so­la­tion try by Rocky El­som.

Fi­nal score: All Blacks 30, Wal­la­bies 14.

But if the Wal­la­bies had kicked their three penal­ties they would have lost by only seven points.

Add to this the mar­ginal try the All Blacks scored in the sec­ond half and it could eas­ily have been a draw.

Do not as­sume the All Blacks are the world cham­pi­ons yet. There is a lot of wa­ter to flow un­der the bridge be­fore we reach Rugby World Cup 2011 fi­nal.

If, as many pun­dits are pick­ing, the fi­nal fea­tures New Zealand against Aus­tralia, what a mon­u­men­tal game that will be.

Per­haps the great­est game ever played be­tween these two coun­tries.

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