Justin Marshall on the Brisbane banana test
October 23, 2012, 09:51:44
Sometimes you hate to be right, and this was definitely one of those occasions as the All Blacks had their winning streak snapped in Brisbane with a draw that would have felt like a loss in the aftermath.
I wondered beforehand if this could be a "banana skin" match for the All Blacks and, sure enough, it played out pretty much as I'd thought it might, right down to my theory that the Australians might not be good enough or experienced enough to close out victory.
I had a feeling it would be one of those tight test matches and, if the Wallabies could stay in touch on the scoreboard, and even get themselves ahead, they would gain some encouragement and confidence.
They put themselves in a position to win the test match, then they proceeded to go about losing it as best they could.
The All Blacks were very lucky they were able to haul in a nine-point deficit all on the back of Australia making errors and doing foolish things.
They didn't construct anything because they didn't have any ball and because of that weren't able to build pressure and points.
The All Blacks instead had to rely on the Australians giving them opportunities to score points - and Robbie Deans' men duly obliged.
The Wallabies let the All Blacks back in to the point they could even have lost and, when they reflect on this match, they will probably be kicking themselves for letting the victory get away from them.
Australia were the dominant team and had every opportunity to win.
But I always felt that if it got close, New Zealand had an edge because they had so much experience and nous.
Sure enough, Australia got themselves into a winning position yet lacked the personnel and ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
I don't think the All Blacks underestimated the Wallabies but they never got into the game early.
They were just feeding off turnovers and the odd error from Australia, but that doesn't give you ball in hand to establish a rhythm.
When they're playing well, the All Blacks construct seven-plus phases and put opponents under pressure. They hardly did that at all in this test.
At the end, the players sounded frustrated they couldn't get into the game and didn't have the ball to assert their game plan.
It was similar to what happened in the first half in South Africa, except there they were able to score the tries against the run of play to stay in the game.
But that's two test matches in a row they've really struggled to get ball and implement the game plan. (JUSTIN YOU ARE FORGETTING THE DUNEDIN TEST WHERE THE ABS SHOULD HAVE LOST BY 20 POINTS - SO MAKE THAT THREE TESTS!!!!!)
Make no mistake, for the All Blacks this will feel like a loss.
The players would have been desperate to win for Keven Mealamu and for Steve Hansen, who's had a tough week with the death of his father, Des.
Plus, All Blacks love smashing records and take great pride in their achievements, and the fact they let that winning streak slip will be incredibly frustrating in the cold light of day.
Also, when an opponent is as dominant as the Wallabies were, a draw does feel like a loss.
HE GOES ON TO DO SOME DAMAGE CONTROL BUT THE ABOVE ARE THE SALIENT POINTS.
- Justin Marshall is a former All Blacks halfback
Well Justin and Beeno are quite clearly on the same page. I do think the drubbing the abs got in Dunedin and the fact the OZ team were indeed the dominant side at Brisbane (Both SA and OZ being without key players) shows the abs are what I have been saying all along - a good sid ebut not great one. Youcan add in that win agains tthe run of play in the WC final.
ThanksJustin for an objective assessment of matters that will of course not make you popular with the head in sand nz brigade.
It is I beleive case closed. Point proven and the last word said.
Time for ou hakwa to post his pictures - Hahahahahahahahaha