Saturday, November 01, 2008


All Blacks and Wallaby rugby teams play an international rugby test at Hong Kong...

First published at Qassia:

On Nov 2 2008 the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies scored a first for world rugby union by playing the fourth Bledisloe Cup test at a neutral venue; the holders NZ had already retained the cup 2-1 through earlier games played in New Zealand and Australia, but the fourth was played out in a true manner and won by the All Blacks 19-14 on what was really a sub-standard surface, and probably caused the ankle injury to All Black hooker, Andrew Hore, who is now out of the impending northern hemisphere tour and has been replaced by another player back in NZ.
It was the usual and expected no holds barred tough encounter between world rugby's giants. A rusty and out-passioned All Blacks team had to claw there way back from a 9-14 deficit to score ten unanswered points and win by 19-14 at the final whistle. Some strange selections which were changed in the second half saw the AB's overcome a somewhat ill disciplined Wallabies in the second half. To select the world's greatest No 10 Daniel Carter at second five or inside centre was baffling. After he was returned to his rightful position into the second half as the playmaker and the physical Ma'a Nonu was brought on at No 12, the Black backline started to fire, gaining better possession and territory statistics than during the first. half. A second half try to All Black captain, Richie McCaw, the world's greatest No 7 and open side flanker, sealed the game for the All Blacks.

There was no doubt the Wallabies played well in the first half. Both teams had problems adjusting to a different set of ELVS( experimental laws) than those played in the southern hemisphere which helped to make the game a better spectacle.

The reasons for organising an international test match at Hong Kong, famous for its annual sevens rugby tounaments, was for the globalisation of rugby, but also revenue gathering for the New Zealand and Australian rugby unions who reportedly gained 4-5 million dollars from the match.

Its off to Edinburgh, Scotland today for their match next week against Scotland, followed by tests against Ireland, Wales and England and, hopefully, another grandslam! The Wallabies are also off to Britain for the end of year tour.

I'll be back later to post some stories on the All Blacks northern tour.


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