Dominant Wallabies crush All Blacks and other key talking points from Perth

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Australia crushed world champions New Zealand 47-26 in the Rugby Championship in Perth.

The All Blacks had lock Scott Barrett sent off just before half-time for a shoulder charge on Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper.

Nic White, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Marika Koroibete and Kurtley Beale all crossed the line, with fly-half Christian Lealiifano kicking 13 points and Matt Toomua adding two conversions.

Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape claimed New Zealand’s tries, while Richie Mo’unga kicked three conversions.

Here’s our talking points from the match.

ALL BLACKS STRUGGLE

New Zealand produced one of their worst performances in recent years, albeit they played the full second half with 14 men, but the timing won’t help Steve Hansen and his coaching staff either with their World Cup opener against South Africa just six weeks away.

They were unable to hold on to the ball, struggled with ill-discipline and were unable to match a dominant Australia scrum and lineout that purred all evening in Perth.

The All Blacks couldn’t hold on to possession (24 per cent), gave away easy turnovers (12) and missed too many tackles (37), 19 of which came in first half alone.

The missed tackles stat is frightening – at 79 per cent – considering they enjoyed a 93 per cent success rate in their previous two Rugby Championship games against Argentina and South Africa.

Territory, in which they held a meager 13 per cent in the first half, isn’t relevant sometimes in the modern game, but it’s the position that will frustrate Hansen.

Despite the defeat, they scored four tries with little ball in hand, and special mention must go to Ardie Savea, Lienert-Brown and Kieran Read, who against the circumstances, got through a mountain of work.

Overall, New Zealand did improve towards the end of the match, but the world champions need to be more positive with possession and discipline against the same opposition at Eden Park next week.

WALLABIES SHINE

Wrap it up and stick a green and yellow bow on it because the Wallabies were absolutely superb.

After losing to South Africa and narrowly beating Argentina, much pressure fell on Michael Cheika and his coaching team heading into their first Bledisloe Cup fixture against the All Blacks.

But they were superb, dominating possession, territory and the scoreline, and wounding an All Blacks side that now look low on confidence.

Samu Kerevi trucked his way through the All Blacks backline at every opportunity and was a model of consistency.

On the wing, Hodge was a menace and capped off a fine evening with two tries.

At 15, Beale produced some of that old magic that we are normally used to seeing, bursting through for a late try to put some more gloss on the scoreboard.

The red card to Barrett may have changed the game, but Australia played with a ruthless efficiency, enjoying 87 per cent territory and 81 per cent possession in the first half, and holding firm to secure a remarkable second win in 11 attempts against the All Blacks.

Can Cheika’s warriors back it up next week?

BARRETT DISMISSAL

Barrett was the fourth All Black ever to be sent-off in Test rugby after receiving his marching orders for a shoulder tackle on Hooper just before half-time.

It seemed a harsh decision, with referee Jerome Garces known to make conversational calls, but perhaps fair under the new laws and regulations.

It proved costly with the All Blacks going in at the break under pressure – at 16-12 down – and devoid of confidence.

Because of his positive disciplinary record, Barrett may only miss four matches, including the first two games at the Rugby World Cup. But with talisman Brodie Retallick sidelined due to a shoulder injury, it puts Hansen under pressure to find a partner for Sam Whitelock or force rushing the 2014 World Player of the Year back to action.

The sending off ruined the game, but Barrett needs to learn in the future, and try to be more disciplined in those crucial positions. If it happened in a World Cup semi-final, for example, he would destroy the team’s organisation and belief.

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Willi Heinz set for England debut in World Cup warm-up against Wales

Press Association Sport 14:42 09/08/2019
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Willi Heinz will make his England debut against Wales on Sunday and is immediately installed as vice-captain despite his lack of Test experience.

The New Zealand-born 32-year-old has been given the stage to prove he deserves a place at this autumn’s World Cup after being picked as the starting scrum-half for the warm-up Test at Twickenham.

Ben Youngs, England’s first choice in the position, is included on the bench for a game that takes place 24 hours before Eddie Jones finalises his 31-man squad for Japan 2019.

Also winning his first cap is Ruaridh McConnochie, the Bath wing who followed up a fine spell in sevens with a strong finish to the 2018-19 Gallagher Premiership season.

Lining up the other wing is Test Lion Anthony Watson, who will be making his first appearance for England since damaging his Achilles at the end of the 2018 Six Nations.

Owen Farrell misses out altogether so George Ford starts at fly-half and is also named captain of a side that contains 377 caps.

Piers Francis profits from Ben Te’o’s unexpected absence from the training squad for Wales by winning his fourth cap in a centre partnership alongside Henry Slade.

For the first time, Sam Underhill and Tom Curry start in the same back row despite being specialist opensides with Curry packing down at six.

The first of back-to-back matches against Wales sees prop Dan Cole and locks Joe Launchbury and Charlie Ewels presented with their last chance to secure their World Cup places.

England’s build-up to the World Cup begins in earnest on Sunday and Jones re-iterated his determination to seize New Zealand’s crown as world champions.

Elsewhere, Alun Wyn Jones will become Wales’ most capped player when he leads a powerful team into Sunday’s World Cup warm-up clash against England.

It will be lock Jones’ 135th Test match appearance – 126 for Wales and nine in British and Irish Lions colours – to overtake prop Gethin Jenkins.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named a team that includes 13 starters from the Six Nations title and Grand Slam-clinching victory over Ireland in March.

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Dan Cole urges England to embrace World Cup in Japan

Press Association Sport 09:25 09/08/2019
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Dan Cole hopes England will be able to immerse themselves in Japanese culture while launching a meaningful challenge for the World Cup.

Eddie Jones’ men open their quest to claim New Zealand’s title against Tonga on September 22 but by that point they will already have been in the host nation for a fortnight after opting to stage a training camp in Fukuoka.

Cole is a strong contender to be present as one of the travelling tighthead props when Jones names his final 31-man squad on Monday and if selected to go, he will value more than just rugby.

“The balance for us is that we are there to win games, but we are also probably going to be there once in our lifetimes so we want to enjoy the experience,” Cole said.

“We want to enjoy the culture, accept that and be part of it. Hopefully we’re not going to be quarantined and we can get out and see what’s going on because that’s part of the reason why we are there.

“It is not like we are there on a tourist trip. But if you look at Japan’s history from the Shogunates, then it is an interesting place.

“You hear about Tokyo and it being 24/7, flat out, but then you have your Buddhist zen gardens and quiet places.

“I think everybody is probably looking at it and going: ‘Oh Japan, I’d love to go visit Japan’. You’d put it on your bucket list but very few actually get to go there and do it.”

To aid their adjustment to a country that is an infrequent destination on the rugby circuit, England’s players have had culture lessons with the Japan Foundation.

“We’ve had one with the ins and outs of travelling on public transport, greetings and all that type of stuff so we’re getting there. (Fly-half) George Ford was good at bowing – he’s very respectful,” Cole said.

The tighthead pecking order has seen Cole drop below Kyle Sinckler and if Jones opts to take only five props to Japan, then either the Leicester front row or Harry Williams will miss out.

At 32-years-old and a veteran of England’s dreadful showings at the previous two World Cups, Cole would relish one more shot at the sport’s greatest prize.

“I would love to go. I’m not going to get another one, put it that way,” he said.

“You want to be successful with England. For the past four years Eddie has come in and the team has built.

“The goal every week is to win the games and win as many games as possible, but Eddie’s goal has also been the World Cup.

The balance for us is that we are there to win games, but we are also probably going to be there once in our lifetimes so we want to enjoy the experience

Dan Cole
“Seeing how this team has evolved since 2015 you want to see it through and be part of that because it’s a very good squad.

“It’s one of the best squads I’ve been involved in, one of the best teams I’ve been involved in. You want to see that through.

“The squad’s being announced on Monday and no matter what part you play you want to go.

“If my part is to push the team as hard as I can and get them best prepared for Japan that’s my part. You want to do that because you want to see England win the World Cup.”

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