Australia 27 All Blacks 19

Turns out the Wallabies are pretty good after all. Michael Cheika has made his mark and Australia, for the first time since 2011, beat the All Blacks and they beat them well.

They were the better team. That's it, pure and simple. They won because they played better rugby and took their chances.

Read more:
Three things we learned from All Blacks' loss
First Take: Milner-Skudder plays his way into contention


They were helped no end by some astonishingly weak All Black tackling that let firstly Sekope Kepu then Nick White cruise through big holes that should never have there.

Worrying stuff, no doubt - lapses in concentration and technique by the All Blacks but that wasn't really the story of the night. They didn't bring enough composure and accuracy.

 Will Skelton and Greg Holmes of the Wallabies celebrate the victory. Photo / Getty Images
Will Skelton and Greg Holmes of the Wallabies celebrate the victory. Photo / Getty Images

They were a touch wild and anxious, too willing to fling the ball anywhere and too ready to go wide when a bit of up the guts football would have done them no harm.

If there is one positive to be had, then it is almost a tradition that the All Blacks lose to the Wallabies before a World Cup. They did so in 2011 and in 2007. One time it worked - woke them up and pointed out a few deficiencies - the other it didn't.

The All Blacks should certainly have been woken up on this occasion. They need to revisit how they are trying to play and find a little more structure.

They never quite convinced as having all the answers. The All Blacks appeared a little flustered for much of the game, not quite able to do everything they wanted when and where it suited them.

The Wallabies were the biggest impediment to the progress of the All Blacks. They scrambled well on defence, competed hard at the breakdown as everyone knew they would and even scrummaged well. Their linespeed was good on defence all game and the pressure they exerted was strong and relentless - enough to ensure the All Blacks were constantly harassed.

Nehe Milner-Skudder celebrates with Aaron Smith after scoring. Photo / Getty Images
Nehe Milner-Skudder celebrates with Aaron Smith after scoring. Photo / Getty Images

And they played as if they were bothered about life, never quite happy or in charge and the rest of the world will have seen something in that. The mighty All Blacks were a bit rattled and will no doubt have invited everyone to come at them hard at the World Cup.


Still, on the positive side of things, the All Blacks are getting plenty right in areas that are going to be tested at the World Cup.

Their attitude, energy and commitment were all good. It was just that the game was crying out for one team to take a step back and sacrifice some of the pace for clinical handling.

The All Blacks are desperate to play at this lung-bursting tempo and want to be there in minute one so they can reap the benefits in minutes 70 to 80.

It's a great and noble intention but there was an opportunity to be more bludgeon than rapier against a Wallabies pack that may not have enjoyed seeing a more direct approach.

There's nothing wrong with tempering the ambition. A 20-minute of spell of forcing the Wallabies to tackle, tackle, tackle around the fringes may have tired them more quickly.

The danger with that approach, of course, was playing into the hands of Michael Hooper and David Pocock so it was wide, wide from the All Blacks. Or at least it was try to go wide, wide, wide from the All Blacks but they weren't slick enough to really open up the Wallabies. The couple of times they did, they failed to finish.


That was it, really. The All Blacks weren't ruthless and clinical. The Wallabies were. Game lost, lots to think about, lots to fret about and maybe lots will be made of this defeat in October as the game that knocked the All Blacks back into shape.

Australia 27 (S. Kepu, A. Ashley Cooper, N. White tries; M. Giteau 2 cons, pen; N. White pen)
New Zealand 19 (N. Milner-Skudder (2) tries; D. Carter 3 pens)