Isi Naisarani of the Wallabies is tackled during the Bledisloe Cup Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park.
Isi Naisarani of the Wallabies is tackled during the Bledisloe Cup Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park.

Slack: High expectations, credibility fade seconds into Test

After last week's shock 47-26 loss in Perth, All Blacks captain Kieran Read didn't appear ludicrously fazed.

"These moments are built for us All Blacks," he said.

So it proved. Nothing more dangerous than a wounded Kiwi. Always been the case and seems it will always be the case.

As for the Wallabies, it was suggested during the week that the Wallabies had achieved credibility courtesy of their win in that first Bledisloe Cup encounter.

Not so.

What they gave in Perth was hope. Back it up with a good performance, win or lose, in Auckland and you can then start contemplating credibility.

Credibility doesn't exist without consistency and there can be no marker of that from just one game.

Two in a row against a quality team you know it's tantalisingly close. After Saturday night's performance at Eden Park it seems depressingly distant.

Apparently, had the All Blacks lost by a certain amount on Saturday night they could have slipped to sixth in World Rugby rankings.

What a joke the notion of world rankings having any real relevance is.

Asked before the match what I considered the key to backing up the Perth performance was for the Wallabies, I responded by suggesting that strong discipline would be a good start.

 

Michael Hooper is tackled during the Bledisloe Cup Test match.
Michael Hooper is tackled during the Bledisloe Cup Test match.

 

Seeing Australia give away a penalty in the first 20 seconds made me anxious. Another couple of minutes, another penalty, and the All Blacks were gifted three points as well as providing a memory blockout for the Kiwis of what had happened in the wild west just a week before.

Talk about a free ride.

And after a 36-0 scoreline, an early penalty here or there doesn't seem to be too much but when Christian Lealiifano misses a couple of gifts, one has to ask why Reece Hodge hasn't been the go-to kicker for Australia in recent seasons.

He can land them from 55m. Why doesn't he get the chance from 25?

 

James O'Connor (left) and Adam Ashleigh-Cooper after the loss.
James O'Connor (left) and Adam Ashleigh-Cooper after the loss.

Team management will give some sort of reason but whatever it might be, I won't buy it.

The over-hyped joy after Perth was understandable. If scraps are all you've been fed for a while, you have the right to pretend it's a feast.

We told them how wonderful they were and not being used to such a show of support they got stage fright.

Lesson learnt?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Stage fright is one thing but lack of urgency is another altogether.

When Isi Naisarani made a strong break in the first half in Auckland, his support runners were non-existent.

In the second half, when the optimists among us believed we could still win, Matt Toomua shredded the All Blacks' defence. His only support player? Replacement prop Taniela Tupou.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika after the heavy defeat.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika after the heavy defeat.

 

Not another sinner in sight.

With minutes to go and victory a lost cause, Samu Kerevi got over the advantage line.

Who was there in support?

An All Black.

Seconds later George Bridge had scored.

Support is about attitude. You don't deserve credibility if you haven't got attitude.

Once again for the Wallabies as they head to the World Cup, expectations, sadly, are low. Who knows?

That might be a good thing.

High expectations certainly weren't.