James Mortimer - (8/08/2010)
Victorious All Blacks captain Richie McCaw acknowledged a uncompromising defensive effort from his troops in their 20-10 win at AMI Stadium, while admitting that it was a deliberate plan of the All Blacks to play for field position in the second half.
The Wallabies maintained long bouts of possession against the All Blacks throughout the match, with the Australians putting together a far more compete effort determined to run the ball back at the home team
The All Blacks made 146 tackles to the Wallabies 91, and throughout the whole match only five were missed (a 96.69% completion rate) by McCaw and his men.
However the Wallabies, while determined to mount attacks with over 40 more rucks than the All Blacks, struggled to put together an offence to cause any real concerns for the black wall.
The match also saw the All Blacks employ a kicking strategy later in the test, which McCaw said was a tactical shift to counter the Wallabies effectiveness in running their attack.
It was pleasing to see the All Blacks able to shift their on field plan during a match.It was the most defending the All Blacks had needed to do throughout the year so far, and the first time that a noticable shift from the favoured ball in hand attack was employed.
McCaw said that despite the desire to run with the pill, their was a real need to batter down the hatches against a vastly improved Wallabies team.
"Last week both teams wanted to use the ball a lot, but the difference was we had to defend a lot in that second half," McCaw said in his post-match reaction."In tight test matches you've got to do that. I'm very happy. In the first half we threw the ball around in their half and gave the ball away a few times. So in the second half we wanted to play a bit more field position. We had to do that. We had to do a lot of defending. However, the boys dug in because when you haven't got the ball it takes a lot out of you. But we stuck at it and forced critical turnovers."
He also acknowledged it was good to secure the Bledisloe Cup, but technically the Wallabies could win the Investec Tri-Nations if they win all of their remaining matches with bonus points. However one more bonus point will seal the competition for the All Blacks.
"Winning a Test match against Australia, you've got to be happy with that," McCaw said"It [the Bledisloe Cup] is an important trophy and we wanted to put a performance in to put it away so happy with that."