Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Loe: Let's hope the rust is gone now

Luke Romano was very solid last night.  Photo / Getty Images
Luke Romano was very solid last night. Photo / Getty Images

Next week's match at Eden Park will be all the better for last night's game. It was pretty ordinary in terms of quality and both sides were a bit rusty, I thought.

The villain of the piece was the referee, Alain Rolland, who blew the whistle far too much. I don't think he let the match flow at all and didn't play the advantage rule well either.

Having said that, both sides made too many mistakes and I think the All Blacks would have been more disappointed in their performance than the Wallabies.

The Aussies would have been a bit peeved they didn't get the bonus point but the All Blacks, while they won, would have considered that a bit of a failure. I said before the match that anything short of a win by 12 points or more would be regarded as not good enough by the All Black camp - and I'm sticking to that.

It was interesting to sit in that stadium and be surrounded by Australian supporters and they tried to give me some curry by saying that I'd have to blame Robbie Deans for that result.

I told them I blamed Ewen McKenzie and Michael Foley for producing a front five that was not up to it for the Australians. I thought Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu and Sitaleki Timani were out of condition or out of form and it showed.

The All Blacks weren't exactly clinical either. I wouldn't beat up on them - they looked more superior than the scoreline suggested - and they will be all the better next weekend for that hit-out last night. The Wallabies just showed nothing and they will be wondering how they put their best foot forward after that.

Israel Dagg was voted man of the match but I reckon he did as many things wrong as he did right. There probably wasn't a stand-out performer on the night but Luke Romano had a fine match and Sam Whitelock did a lot of good work as well. Kieran Read was very solid and that little Aaron Smith did well against the best halfback in the world - so well you have to wonder why Piri Weepu was put on with seconds to go.

- Herald on Sunday

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Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black forward prop who plied his trade for the New Zealand national team between 1987 and 1995. Loe was well known by fans and team mates alike as an ‘enforcer’ on the pitch, a player who balanced his abilities with the ball with a tough-tackling prowess and a penchant for physicality. During an outstanding career Richard Loe represented his country of birth in no less than three World Cups, assisting the All Blacks to a famous victory in 1987. Along with fellow team mate and captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Loe formed one of the most formidable forward lines ever to lead the All Blacks. Despite his sometimes overly physical dominance on the pitch, Loe is regarded by former team mates as being an exceptional character and professional. Following retirement from rugby Loe became a sport columnist for the New Zealand Herald, a position he still holds today.

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