Australia 28-49 New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Melbourne, July 31
McCaw salutes clinical Kiwis
July 31, 2010
Richie McCaw capped yet another inspirational display for the All Blacks with a first-half try in Melbourne © Getty Images
A close contest was envisaged in light of Australia's stirring win over South Africa last weekend. However, the Kiwis picked up where they had left off against the Boks a fortnight ago and, after recovering from the shock of conceding an early try to Drew Mitchell, who was later sent off, they tore the Wallabies asunder, racking up a staggering seven tries on their way to a third successive bonus-point victory in this year's Tri-Nations.
"I am very happy with the performance," McCaw said in his post-match interview. "The boys took their chances well."
Although New Zealand played well from one to 15, McCaw was particularly impressive, dominating opposite number David Pocock at the breakdown as well as chipping in with a try for good measure. However, the Kiwi captain was reluctant to take any credit for his man of the match-winning display.
"Its hard to single out guys," the openside flanker said. "It's about going for it [stealing the ball] at the right times. If the opportunities are there it is important to take them, but when we did turn it over the boys attacked quickly."
McCaw's sentiments were echoed by team-mate Dan Carter. The New Zealand fly-half played a key role in the visitors' triumph, successfully charging down an attempted clearance from Berrick Barnes to score just two minutes after Mitchell had done the same thing to him. However, he too felt that it had been a brilliant team performance from the All Blacks.
"I had to turn things around," the All Blacks No.10 said of his early error. "It's a bit embarrassing but that [scoring an immediate try] would be the way to get one back on them, so I'm thankful for that.
"[But] I just want to pay credit to the entire squad today. The guys that came on really made an impact. [It was] tough for the Wallabies - 14 players for 30-odd minutes - but we're happy. But obviously [we have] an extremely tough match next week [against Australia in Christchurch]."
Unsurprisingly, All Blacks boss Graham Henry was enthused after yet another intoxicating display of attacking rugby from his troops.
"To score seven tries against Australia in Australia is a great performance," the former Wales boss said. "I thought there was some scintillating rugby and the game has improved immensely this year as a spectacle and we're pleased to be part of that."
Meanwhile, Australia head coach Robbie Deans has little complaint with the final scoreline, admitting that his players had struggled to get their hands on the ball - even before they were reduced to 14 men.
"We didn't have any consistent possession in the first half and that was a big contributing factor to our circumstance," the former Crusaders boss said. "Obviously, playing with less than 15 men for the greater part of the game compounded that."
When pressed on the issue of Mitchell's dismissal for a second yellow, Deans hinted that he was unhappy with Craig Joubert's decision to send the winger off.
"I don't want to comment on the decision; it was made and we suffered the consequence," he said. "But we showed with 15 men we can be competitive, because with 14 men we were. But at that point the game becomes a bit of a nonsense in many ways at this level, which is disappointing. But that's the way it was.''