The story appears on

Page A15

September 18, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Rugby

Pressure on All Blacks, Wallabies ahead of clash

SOUTH Africa may have clinched the Tri-Nations rugby title but Australia and New Zealand remain under heavy pressure to perform in the last match of the tournament.

The All Blacks face the closest examination after losing 29-32 to the Springboks last weekend, conceding the Tri-Nations title they have held for the last four years with their fourth loss in eight tests.

The Wallabies lifted some pressure from themselves when they beat the Boks 21-6 in Brisbane two weeks ago to break a six-match losing streak in Tri-Nations tests.

Australia coach Robbie Deans freshened his ailing team with new faces for the Brisbane test and devised tactics which nullified the kicking game South Africa has used to win all but two of its tests this year, including three in succession over the All Blacks.

A loss by the Wallabies in Wellington tomorrow would still give weight to questions over the direction Deans has dictated for his team, which would then have lost five of its six Tri-Nations matches this year, including all three to the All Blacks.

But the unchanged Australian lineup is still likely to enter the match in a better frame of mind than the All Blacks, who have been harshly criticized for their disorganized performance against the Springboks.


A late comeback, after South Africa had led 29-17 early in the second half, diminished the magnitude of the All Blacks' loss but failed to hide wide-ranging deficiencies in their play. Deans has already detected a lift in the confidence of his players after their win in Brisbane and hoped it would help his team to a rare win in New Zealand.

"It was good for us to get a tangible return. It was an injection of belief I guess," he said. "But we're also conscious of the fact that can dissipate pretty quickly. We've got a young group here and they put in a really good outing up in Brisbane and enjoyed that but they are keen to push on and back that up with another good performance."

Deans said that while neither team can win the tournament, the Wellington match was of considerable significance to both.

"It's a damn important game to us. In terms of the Tri-Nations there's not a lot at stake but you're dealing with two proud rugby nations," he said. "The Wallabies haven't had a lot of success in New Zealand and we've got an opportunity at the weekend, not only to finish our campaign on a good note, but to do something that's not easy to do."

Most aspects of Kiwi's play were below par in Hamilton but the most debated area of deficiency has been the lineout, a continuing problem for the All Blacks this season. Despite assurances from forwards coach Steve Hansen - a former winger - that the lineout is "a work in progress," the All Blacks performance has deteriorated match by match.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend