'They froze': Embarrassing moment that sums up Wallabies debacle

·Contributor
·3-min read
Noah Lolesio, pictured here after the Wallabies' loss to the All Blacks in Perth.
Noah Lolesio looks on after the Wallabies' loss to the All Blacks in Perth. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

It was the moment that told you everything you need to know about the Wallabies right now.

Faced with a monumental overlap against a 14-man All Blacks in Sunday's third Test, Wallabies five-eighth Noah Lolesio launched an all-or-nothing, low percentage cross-field kick to his winger when going through the hands would have almost certainly led to a try.

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The kick, of course, turned to mud and the opportunity for much needed points squandered.

It was almost like Lolesio could not help himself, so programmed are our so-called top level players to the "process".

The New Zealanders, in comparison, mix their game up with clever grubber kicks, darting attacking raids and intuitive counter-attacks.

The All Blacks' comfortable 38-21 win – without the services of Aaron Smith, Sam Whitelock and Richie Mo’unga, mind you - and Bledisloe Cup series clean sweep further emphasised the gulf between the two nations.

As former All Black Sonny Bill Williams said of the Wallabies: "There is a lack of belief in their skill set. There is a lack of belief to pull the trigger.

"The All Blacks have that belief. They pull the trigger, even when down to 14 men."

Embarrassing moment that summed up the Wallabies

You would never have known the visitors were short a man the way they attacked the game once Jordie Barrett was sent off for striking Marika Koroibete with his right boot as he contested a high ball.

The Kiwis train for this exact scenario but do the Wallabies ever practice a one-man advantage scenario?

It didn't look it. Instead of embracing the opportunity, they froze.

Embarrassingly, the All Blacks not only kept Australia scoreless for 20 minutes until restored to 15 men (Damian McKenzie replaced Barrett under the Rugby Championship red card rule) but grabbed a try while down a player.

All Blacks players, pictured here celebrating after their win in the third Bledisloe Test.
The All Blacks celebrate after their win in the third Bledisloe Test. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Scattered throughout the game the Wallabies again ignored the shopping list of rugby no-no's.

The out-of-his-depth Lolesio missed a simple penalty, Tom Banks kicked the ball dead instead of over the sideline from a penalty, there were several bad one-on-one misses in defences, soft turnovers and, of course, the now obligatory intercept try.

No wonder Wallabies coach Dave Rennie screamed "truck be red" – or words to that effect – as David Havili raced away with the All Blacks' third intercept grab from as many Tests.

“We’re not where we want to be. We’re certainly working hard and have a good group of young men who are learning quickly,” Rennie said.

Not quickly enough, it would seem, to avoid further embarrassment at the hands of South Africa and possibly Argentina as the Rugby Championship rolls on in coming weeks.

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