Admit it, anytime we can sling a bit of mud the Aussies' way we do and their teams have been giving us plenty of ammunition.

Their cricket side is in disarray and getting pummelled by the Poms, their Super Rugby sides have won once against New Zealand sides since for ever and the Warriors are nestled in the NRL top four.

The squirm factor is spreading through Australian sport to top up their untidy political and social scenes but this is not about one-upmanship or taking a swing at big brother.

Read more: World Rugby says red card referee made right decision at the time


No way Jose, we are bigger than that. This is about the enjoyment and sympathy we should be feeling towards Aussie rugby, particularly the Wallabies and Angus Gardner.

Let's deal with the referee first. His verdict on Benjamin Fall's red card came after matching World Rugby directives to the video replays he was shown and discussion with George Ayoub in the TMO box.

Gardner did not have access to any other angles, he did not have hours to cogitate in the committee room with a panel of views, he followed through on the instructions made by World Rugby, who then shafted him.

None of us liked seeing France play a man down but World Rugby left an uneasy Gardner with no option. If the appeals committee felt awkward, they should have said the sending off was sufficient. Instead, they said it was wrong and effectively put the boot into Gardner and Ayoub.

Gardner has not been immune from censure in the past but this time he was thrown under the wheels of the World Rugby bus. On behalf of the New Zealand rugby public, sorry Angus, hope you get a warm sideline reception tomorrow in Dunedin.

The All Black response and work of more new players will get our interest for the final test but it has been a series which feels like it has barely started and has been the curtain-raiser for the main event between the Wallabies and Ireland.

That series is split after two engrossing meetings with the teams set for a decider in Sydney tomorrow night. The Irish will bring the patterned discipline of phase play and ball retention, strong defence and a kicking game to counter the growing set-piece work from the Wallabies, loose forward limpet David Pocock and their rangy counter-attack.

In Brisbane then Melbourne, there was a raw red tinge about all the action and an uncertainty about the outcomes. That feeling has risen for the decider where the difference may be the injury exit of Wallaby halfback Will Genia and a bigger imprint from his rival Connor Murray or dare we mention it, the rulings from French referee Pascal Gauzere.


Questions will be asked about the consistent quality of both teams' play and their ability to think outside the square but no one can query the intense combat they've provided.

They've made gaffes under pressure but that is the nature of top-level test rugby. That must be a disconcerting statistic for the Blacks who were messy in the opening half at Eden Park then fought a dogged French side and an elevated error rate at the Cake Tin.

Sin-bin me or label me unpatriotic but whatever happens in Dunedin, the June winner for rugby entertain-ment has been across the Tasman.