Complete drama and ultimate entertainment summed up a brilliant fightback as the All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup in dramatic fashion.
It ended with an All Blacks victory over Australia with a score line of 35-29. But the winner wasn’t determined until the very final moments.
When fans look back at this match, the end result wasn’t really about the All Blacks retaining the Bedisloe Cup at all. The history books will tell the story of another Wallabies defeat whilst fighting to get the coveted trophy back, but this match should always be remembered for being one of the most nail-biting contest between the two sides.
As if the history between the All Blacks and Wallabies needed anything more added to it. Both sides took it to the next level in Dunedin tonight, and it was the close contest that the rivalry between the All Blacks and Wallabies needed.
Wallabies Blow Big Lead In Dunedin
Leading 17-0, the Wallabies had found themselves with their biggest lead over the All Blacks in recent memory. The All Blacks came back to score 21 unanswered points, regaining the lead in the last quarter.
From there, the Wallabies looked to have repeated their typical ability to forego playing for the full 80-minutes.
But as soon as it looked like the All Blacks had escaped, Will Genia stepped up to show all his class and setup the Wallabies eventual return to the lead with two spectacular breaks downfield to ultimately score. That sparked the Wallabies back to life, and Kurtley Beale scored late in the piece in what looked like the match winner.
Rieko Ioane & Beauden Barrett Lead All Black Fightback
Rieko Ioane inspired the courageous comeback in another strong performance on the wing. The youngster’s speed and nifty footwork proved a handful for the Wallabies again.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 26, 2017
The other All Black that proved the difference was Beauden Barrett. In fact, Barrett scored the late match winning try in the 79th minute just after it looked like the Wallabies were going to get their first win on New Zealand soil in years.
Barrett, a man who has had his goal kicking abilities questioned all season, converted all his attempts on goal. It proved to be the difference in the end. Bernard Foley missed the majority of his kicks, and Barrett’s accuracy between the posts proved a big difference in the end.
But, again, look back to the first 20-minutes when the Wallabies had blown away to a 17-0 lead. For as good as they were, Michael Chieka’s Wallabies weren’t able to finish the job, despite coming so close.
All Blacks Retain Bledisloe Cup
At the quarter time mark, the All Blacks were almost to a point of being ‘over in out’.
But the belief, and share determination of all the usual suspects in this All Blacks team proved the difference again. Barrett’s late try was just the icing on the cake, and it brought the Wallabies to their knees after such a valiant performance.
There is little more to say about this game other than it was a thriller, befitting all that is good about the game of rugby.
All Blacks 35
Tries: Rieko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett (2)
Tries: Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia
“Main photo credit”