The world watched in awe as New Zealand and Australia played out a remarkable Bledisloe Cup game, but fans overseas were startled at the image of a packed stadium in Wellington.
The Wallabies and the All Blacks couldn’t be separated after nine minutes of extra time, which saw the first Bledisloe Cup match in 2020 end 16-16 in wet and windy conditions.
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While rust was evident, the thrilling finish to the match will see the titanic clash go down in the history books.
But fans around the world were not only treated to an incredible encounter between the bitter sporting rivals, but witnessed a rare sight in the coronavirus global pandemic.
Fans packed into a stadium.
New Zealand’s strict lockdown measures have helped wipe out active coronavirus cases in the community, while the US is still struggling with the global pandemic.
This was clear from the reaction of overseas commentators when viewing 31,000 fans packed into the stadium.
Former NBA star, turned social media influencer, Rex Chapman led the praise for New Zealand and how they have handled the pandemic.
Political commentator Brian Taylor Cohen reiterated Chapman’s dig at the US and said “leadership matters”.
Irish rugby writer Cian Tracey said the spectacle made it ‘hard to believe we’re living in the same world.”
While we Americans are sitting at home watching the NFL today keep in mind this happened in New Zealand today.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) October 11, 2020
(FWIW - They had an organized national response to Coronavirus.) pic.twitter.com/GMhWpGSGIf
New Zealand, under PM Ardern, took some of the swiftest and strongest actions against the outbreak. They effectively eliminated COVID in their country. Now they get to do this.— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) October 11, 2020
Leadership matters. https://t.co/EW2lYgGXwg
Amazing to see such a large crowd in New Zealand for the Bledisloe Cup.— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) October 11, 2020
Hard to believe we’re living in the same world. pic.twitter.com/YfnvNwZr7x
Fans around the world watch in awe at the incredible atmosphere, which is a startling image in the current climate.
What a match re: sporting excitement! But also, full house crowd watching the #BledisloeCup Different world in New Zealand despite the global coronavirus pandemic...envious of the position they’ve reached..through hard work..we seem a million miles from that here in UK 😔 https://t.co/S3KqmZvUcy— Manil Subesinghe (@manil1980) October 11, 2020
Awesome return of International rugby with a 16all draw between the All Blacks & Wallabies. Played in front of a 31,000 crowd, at the ‘Cake Tin’ 🍩 in Wellington. Nine minutes of extra time, in which the Aussies hit the post, with a 50m penalty attempt. #BledisloeCup #NZLvAUS 🏉 pic.twitter.com/fJK4F1iNzm— 🏴🤍TimDavies🖤🇬🇧 (@TimMarkDavies) October 11, 2020
Amazing to see a full crowd at sport again in New Zealand for the #BledisloeCup. What a game of rugby they were treated to! 🏉— Stevie J (@StevieJ_23) October 11, 2020
Watching in here from Ireland at 5.25am local time loving this cracking game! And also the simple pleasure of hearing and seeing a real crowd again 🙂 p.s. Go on the Wallabies! 😉 #NZLvAUS #Bledisloecup— Clyde (@Clyde_Bear) October 11, 2020
crazy to see how full the stadium is at the #BledisloeCup game. Goes to show how well that Australia and NZ have tamed the virus. Good on em..— Adam Caplan (@Adamcaplan13) October 11, 2020
Wallabies fall short of breaking 19-year curse
The draw means the Wallabies still haven’t won a Test match in New Zealand since 2001, however many believed they were dudded.
Reece Hodge had a shot at penalty goal from 55 metres out after regulation time, however the incredible strike hit the post.
Matt Burke was then left gobsmacked that the Wallabies weren’t awarded another penalty for ruck infringements after they regathered the ball.
James O’Connor kicked a penalty in the 63rd minute to split a 13-13 deadlock and it looked like it could be enough for Australia to break through for their first win in New Zealand in 19 years.
But veteran lock Rob Simmons gave away a penalty with two minutes remaining, allowing All Blacks fullback Barrett to level.
The Wallabies trailed 8-3 at half-time but wingers Marika Koroibete and debutant Filipo Daugunu both scored to put the Australians on track for an unlikely victory.
Playing the first of four Bledisloe Cup Tests, the Australians looked a little shaky early on.
The Wallabies kept busy, dominating possession and territory in the first half with halfback Nic White mixing up his game to keep the All Blacks on their toes.
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