Richard Loe: The All Black gameplan was questionable

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I took part in a sweepstake ahead of last night's Bledisloe Cup test. I had a crack at a score with Robbie Deans' Wallabies winning by five points; just for the hell of it.

But, because I am an ex-All Black with the feeling I have for the black jersey, I secretly thought the All Blacks would win by 32-6 or 32-9, maybe. I was disgusted by the actual outcome.

It was a shocker - an absolute shocker by the All Blacks - and I am still searching for reasons why they were so bad.

You know, rugby is a game of passing, catching and tackling. If you don't catch, you can't pass. And if you don't tackle, you can't stop the other side from scoring tries.

I guess a lot of the blame will be heaped on Graham Henry's management and I thought the All Blacks gameplan was questionable - trying to run the ball out of their own 22 where they often got nailed by the Wallaby defence.

But the players have to bear the brunt too - they are professionals.

The Australians also ran the game well - and you have to give them credit for that. They had a simple gameplan and they executed it well. They looked efficient in general play and dangerous on the break; a lot like the Crusaders.

And the All Blacks gave them plenty of opportunities.

The Australians looked solidly together; the All Blacks looked disorganised by comparison. There have been media reports about how much the Wallabies are enjoying their new coach and how happy they are with matters - but we haven't been hearing the same kind of enthusiasm and commitment out of the All Black camp.

I think we have some real problems now. All right, you wouldn't want to make too many changes to personnel as, with maybe one or two changes, that was pretty much our 1st XV.

But 34-19 is a hiding, I'm afraid, and I am not sure how the All Blacks will bounce back from that. All right, they have the return test in Auckland and they are well capable of winning that - but that loss last night will create some big head problems and give the Wallabies huge confidence.

The Wallaby scrum hung in there and their loose forwards were better than ours. I am still wondering why, however, Daniel Braid went off to be replaced by Sione Lauaki. I just hope it was an injury because it backfired terribly.

The Wallaby handling was better, they played territory better, their defence was better and they won the confrontations at the breakdown.

There's just one consolation for the NZRU - at least the Hong Kong Bledisloe test will be a real money-spinner.

- Herald on Sunday

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