Morning after thoughts from watching from the best seats in the house yesterday, albeit a little damp
SBW was outstanding. Ran really well, but contributed massively on defence. He is such a physical specimen, skillset good, you can see why the TWM want him in their squad. Played his way onto the plane - and convinced a heap of people who doubted the selectors ongoing faith in him.
Kicking game was simply magnificent. Only a couple of poorly executed kicks, but we generally found space and kicked really well. Kudos to the lads for that, turned round their big wingers and made them look ordinary.
Defence just went to antoher level. Noticeable aggression and was like running into walls a ttimes. Good to see, the physicality wasn' tthere last week. Nic White got covered well, once his running wasn't a surprise, it didn't work. Big shout outs to KR and SBW in this area.
Handling was exceptional. Focussed and intense; it was cold and wet out there - as wet as I've got at Eden Park in the last 10-15 years. Some downpours were that classic big auckland raindrops, that just saturate. Field held up well.
Scrum dominant from the seats we were in. Both Cheika and Hansen spoke about it in the pressers - looks like we figured out what they were doing to us last week, and came up with a fix (by the sound of it, setting close to the opposition to eliminate any semblence of a hit). Good, but needs to be dealt with on the field for the RWC.
Wings - both played well. I think Bridge was better than Reece with positioning and skills work. Some nervy moments when both he and Beaudy were going for the same high ball, but calls got sorted and they didn't stuff up. Attack went as well as you saw.
ALB continues to impress me. Needs a bigger bopper at 12 I reckon, but what a talent.
Crowd was in fine voice. Plenty of voice, plenty of vocal support. Our reputation as a library is probably not deserved any more... we're not shy of getting stuck in now. Would have felt pretty hostile. 3 minutes to go Aussies were leaving, and the whole north stand stood up and farewelled them. Quality.
Refereeing. Well, it's a tough game to referee, but there are real issues with consistency and quality of refs at the international level. Forget the YC, the offsides and side entries to the ruck just frustrate me week after week for both sides. It's a lottery, sometimes you get pinged, sometimes we don't. One time in the scond half with the ABs exiting inside their 22, the entire Wallaby defensive line was halfway up the ruck and no farks were given by the entire refereeing team. Ya just wonder... if it's a chargedown try, they'll review and disallow - otherwise it's just 'whatevs, play on'.
The other one that exploded my head was the blatant horror call on the restart not going 10. FFS Jaco, if they play at it then it doesn't matter how far it goes. There is no place on earth where that's a scrum restart, just a horror application of the laws. It's up there with 'we have a deal', without (thankfully) the impact.
Anyway, great night to be out, proud and delighted for teh ABs and supporters, roll on the RWC.