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IT’S rarely been harder to be upbeat as an All Blacks vs Wallabies fan.But positivity and faith is exactly what the Wallabies need from home right now, according to Curtis Rona.
The Force centre and former NRL player pleaded with Aussie rugby supporters to resist the negativity overwhelming the code at the moment and get behind the Wallabies as they prepare to take on the All Blacks on home soil this weekend.
No Wallabies team has won in New Zealand in 17 years and after a heavy first-up loss in Sydney, the Wallabies are at record-high odds to upset the All Blacks.
Rona, who made his debut last weekend, said the Wallabies need the support of their country to get it done.
“A lot of people have been negative about the whole situation and the whole of Australian rugby at the moment,” Rona said.“It’s not a good time but that’s what makes the game more important.“If they (can) stick it out with us and get behind us and encourage us and be positive more than negative, that’s what we need in times like this.“It’s all right for supporters to jump on a winning streak and when it’s times like this, against the best team in the world, we need people to support us and show some positivity coming into these games.”Rona had a mixed night on debut at ANZ Stadium. He played on the wing but was deployed in the centres in defence, and his missed tackle count (six) was equal highest in the team.The former junior Kiwi league representative managed to score the Wallabies’ first try, however, which launched a fightback.“There was highs and lows about the debut, the result didn’t go our way,” Rona said.It was probably one of the worst scores we’ve conceded but on a high note I got my first game under my belt and hopefully I can move forward and try and get more game time.
“They just kept scoring back-to-back tries, the majority of them were from our area. It wasn’t because they did a nice flash move, it was because we made too many simple errors and obviously New Zealand make you pay and they did in the first half.”
Rona appears set to make way for the return of Dane Haylett-Petty, who missed the game with a biceps injury. He remains a chance to stay on the bench, however, with Tevita Kuridrani a strong chance to be promoted into the starting team ahead of Samu Kerevi.
In hammering Australia 54-34 in the Bledisloe Cup opener, it’s obvious the All Blacks were desperate to relieve their frustrations from the drawn British & Irish Lions series.
I watched the first half almost in disbelief; the All Blacks were playing some outstanding rugby. They looked really good and I was really pleased to see the likes of Liam Squire show that he belongs in that No.6 jersey. Aaron Smith’s passes, meanwhile, were brilliant and Ryan Crotty was the glue in the midfield. And, of course, there was Brodie Retallick being the beast that he is.But from the other side, I was almost shocked to see how bad the Australians were. The All Blacks were breaking their line at will. The Wallabies were falling off tackles; it was embarrassing All Blacks vs Wallabies Live. By halftime it looked as if it was going to be a blow-out.I have no doubt there will have been some seriously stern words said inside the Australian shed at halftime, as you would expect, and they certainly turned things around in the second half. It also proved the Wallabies got their midfield selection wrong to start with. When Tevita Kuridrani came on he really shored up the midfield defence and the All Blacks weren’t able to break the line as often as they did in the first half.
Some of the reserves who came off the bench for the Australians proved they should have been starting in the first place. But it was all a bit too late.
Coming away from Saturday night’s Test, as a New Zealander, it was hard to look past the 28 points the All Blacks conceded in the second half. I thought it must have been some sort of record.
There was obviously a healthy cushion with the scoreline the way it was, but I think the All Blacks should be seriously disappointed about conceding that many points. In the past, New Zealand’s reserves always added something when coming off the bench. But they did themselves no justice at all by being part of what happened in the second half in Sydney.One thing that was disappointing about the Test was the effort by the Australian newspapers to try to tarnish the All Blacks’ image in the same week as a Bledisloe Test match. If their stories were meant to affect the All Blacks, it clearly didn’t work; you only have to look at the scoreboard at halftime.The All Blacks are no different to any other level of society; if you make mistakes, you pay for those mistakes. You let the other players in the team down, and that is life. If you can’t expect that mistakes will be made you are deluded.
Aaron Smith and Jerome Kaino have to deal with their situations. Have these incidents tarnished the brand? I don’t think so. In six months’ time, if not before, the All Blacks’ brand will be as strong as ever.
Even after a victory like that, the All Blacks will have come away with plenty of work-ons and areas for improvement. That spells bad news for the Wallabies in Dunedin where I’m sure they will get much more of the same and probably a little bit more given the passing of Sir Colin Meads. He is one of New Zealand’s heroes and a great icons of All Blacks rugby.
I was never lucky enough to watch Colin Meads play, I was about two-and-a-half when he finished, but I heard all the stories about what a fantastic player he was. I got to know him as the character and the man, especially having a bit to do with him in 1995 when he was the manager of the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup.Meads just had huge mana about him and he spoke with a slow, bellowing voice that just made so much sense every time he opened his mouth. He was a very wise man; very calm, cool and collected. When he walked into a room everyone took notice.
One of my fondest memories was in the lead-up to the 1995 World Cup when we had a series of camps. The first one we had was in Queenstown, which was more about team-building and doing stuff together in the offseason to get on with each other a bit. All Blacks vs Wallabies Live Stream