All Blacks and Australia draw dramatic first Bledisloe Cup test
Reece Hodge hit the post with a penalty in injury time which would have won the game
New Zealand’s George Bridge tackles Australia’s Filipo Daugunu as he scores a try during the Bledisloe Cup first test in Wellington. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP via Getty Images
New Zealand 16 Australia 16
All Blacks winger Jordie Barrett slotted a 78th-minute penalty to snatch a 16-16 draw against Australia in their first Bledisloe Cup rugby test on Sunday, a match that stretched nine minutes into injury time.
Wallabies replacement Reece Hodge had the opportunity to win the game in the second minute of injury time with a massive penalty that struck the posts, sparking a virtually continuous passage of play that lasted another seven minutes.
James O’Connor had slotted a 74th-minute penalty to give the Wallabies a 16-13 lead and the visitors hope of achieving their first win over the All Blacks in New Zealand since 2001.
It was just their eighth draw in 167 meetings.
“I’m very proud of the team and I really enjoyed the game despite the conditions and the result,” Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said. “It was close though and I would have liked to have closed it out.”
The game was the first rugby test since March because of Covid-19 restrictions, and the first for new All Blacks coach Ian Foster and his Wallabies counterpart Dave Rennie.
The Wallabies had the most possession and territory throughout the match. The All Blacks had to rely on their counterattack to open their account with Barrett finishing off a sweeping 70-metre movement for the only try of the first half.
The All Blacks should have been up by more at the break, but Rieko Ioane dropped the ball while attempting to put it down after they had turned over possession from a Wallabies’ attacking lineout to leave the score 8-3 at halftime.
Aaron Smith extended the lead to 13-3 early in the second half before Marika Koroibete and Filkipo Daugunu crossed to level the scores with less than 20 minutes remaining.
The All Blacks had several opportunities to attempt a drop goal after Hodge’s missed penalty that would have won the game but did not take them.
“There wasn’t much stoppage to have a chat, it was pretty much all go,” All Blacks captain Sam Cane said about why they had not attempted a drop goal.
“It just highlights that test matches are about taking opportunities and there are only a couple in each game.”