Global glee at All Blacks world record failure

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:38 18/08/2014

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ON HIS WAY: All Blacks prop Wyatt Crockett wanders to the sin bin after receiving a yellow card.

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There was a fair bit of global glee as Steve Hansen's All Blacks failed to make the world record for consecutive test wins their own on Saturday night.

The 12-all draw against the Wallabies in Sydney left the current team stranded with Nick Mallett's 1997-98 Springboks and the 1965-69 All Blacks on 17 wins.

In South Africa, critics suggested the draw was the right result and had put some perspective on the All Blacks a year out from their defence of the World Cup.

"Neither the Wallabies nor the All Blacks deserved to lose in Sydney, but neither deserved to win," wrote Mark Keohane at sarugbymag.co.za.

"The All Blacks have been the best team in the world since the end of 2009, but McCaw's experienced and settled squad had the look of players who are maintaining standards more than adding to them.

"The All Blacks showed their quality to not lose, despite playing 20 minutes with 14 men and they did not lack for fight. But they are no longer striding ahead of the rest.

"The wet conditions complicated an expansive approach but they should have favoured the hyped All Blacks superiority among the forwards. The hype never translated to on-field dominance."

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Keohane noted the mixed efforts of South African referee Jaco Peyper and expected Kiwis to feel the whistle man "did their team no favours".

"They'd have a point but Peyper was not the reason the All Blacks never looked like scoring a try. Peyper was also not the reason the Wallabies failed to ever threaten the All Blacks' tryline.

"Australia certainly have closed the gap since the 2011 World Cup, but playing in Auckland next weekend will be a greater measurement of the Australian improvement.

"The Wallabies have traditionally done well in Sydney and they certainly looked no inferior as a forward unit or in the contact situations."

Fellow South African scribe Gavin Rich offered similar sentiments on the SuperSport website.

"On the balance of play a draw was probably the right result, with the conditions and later the yellow cards contributing to it being a disappointing opening to the 2014 Rugby Championship," Rich wrote.

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"It was a good result for the competition though, as for once the tournament hasn't started with New Zealand laying down a marker and already looking sure winners.

"But it wasn't a great game by the All Blacks, who, let it be said, were tripped up by the modern day rugby blight of arbitrary yellow cards, with South African referee Jaco Peyper sending All Blacks off in the late stages of the first and second halves respectively for 'cynical' acts that would never have attracted such massive sanction in years gone by."

Rich gave some praise for the All Blacks' "heroic defence" in playing 20 minutes with 14 men.

"In surviving the onslaught they proved again that it is many different qualities that contribute to a champion team."

In Britain, the Guardian suggested it was a case of missed opportunities all round - the All Blacks failing to make the world record their own and the Wallabies failing to take advantage of a golden opportunity to get one hand on the Bledisloe Cup.

It suggested the big improvements came in the Wallabies camp, especially in the forwards.

"The Wallabies tight five are no pushovers. Some said the wet conditions underfoot would favour the AB forwards. Far from it.

"The Wallabies more than held their own at set piece, so much so that New Zealand prop Crockett didn't return to the fray after receiving a yellow card late in the first half. That decision by Steve Hansen represented a points victory for the Wallabies front row."

The Daily Mail said Australia had not only "foiled" New Zealand's record bid but "fell just short of nicking the match at the end themselves", as the Wallabies "maintained their recent resurgence to spoil the party".

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- Stuff

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