Impressive win but not cup final
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.