By The Spotter
Clutching at straws. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is clutching at the longest ones in town in whining about referee Romain Poite not listening properly when his charges were whining to him. Cheika could well have a point when he says that some referees give the floor to the All Blacks more than their opponents in the questioning of decisions. Subconciously on the ref’s behalf what Cheika has said may be correct, particularly when New Zealand is at home. However it doesn’t hide the fact that he sounded somewhat similar to a sore loser and would be better off directing his energy towards the continuing ineptness of his team at the set-piece.
Even an armchair barracker like me can see that the trajectory on Stephen Moore’s throws is too loopy and high and, coupled with the velocity being too slow, the opposition have oodles of time to ascertain exactly where the ball is going.
To our lads though. I put it to you. Are we now at the start of a run from a team that could go on to become one of the all-time greats? That may be extremely presumptive, but I say that because last night’s performance was close to sublime from the men in black, (pooh-pooh me if you want- you probably will). It was at another level to Sydney because the Wallabies were really just The British Isles from 2005 in disguise last week. This week they were at least a sixty percent better team and more committed to every physical confrontation. Sorry though, the All Blacks were just too fast and too good in every department across the park.
And don’t bother talking about the Wallabies being useless. The fact is, the All Blacks are operating on another plane, the Wallabies cannot cope. They never stopped giving it their all for even a second last night, but the All Blacks just got that ball and moved it so quickly and effectively that the Aussies were chasing shadows all over Westpac. The only way to stop the Blacks is to keep the ball out of their hands. Good luck with that. Aiming for Aaron Smith is futile- nobody can get anywhere near him these days, I’ve finally realised. And how the Australians must be jealous our player depth here. It is starkly obvious that they are in big trouble with that aspect at the moment.
The overall performance of that All Black forward eight was just about incomparable. Brodie Retallick is on his way to becoming our greatest lock since Colin Meads. We already know about his brilliance in broken play and in competing at and almost always bettering opponents at the breakdown, sometimes two or three at one time. Now, on the evidence of the last two weeks, add absolute champion pilferer of opposition lineout ball to his CV. He was already pretty handy at that aspect too, now he is bordering on freakish.
And Dane Coles? The best hooker in the world in the world surely by quite some distance at the moment. What can he not do? And he can really sprint too, as we know. He just needs not to react to niggle and we won’t be able to fault him on anything.
Read and Kaino? The Beast Brothers (with brains). And Mr Beasley’s favourite scratching post, Sam Cane made Pocock look like a has-been and still looked good in open play, even though he did a lot more furrowing in the tight stuff than Hooper.
In the backs Israel Dagg certainly didn’t look out of place on the right wing and finished superbly for his brace of tries. A nice switch there from the great gruff one, as Ben Smith is the best in the world in the 15 jersey.
And Sonny Bill who? Anton Lienart-Brown is surely going to be a near future lock-in for the 12 jersey for years based on his assured and powerful performance. He could not have played any better. Ryan Crotty will be looking nervously over his shoulder…
Finally…If the mercurial Barrett were Welsh, the people in the valleys would have taken their songbooks out and be composing poetry about him by now.