Australia prevailed on Saturday where the Springboks couldn’t – by beating the best team in the world. Perhaps the All Blacks have lost their edge just as the World Cup is looming.
The Wallaby defence held firm for most of the match, and when Carl Hayman was sin-binned after 62 minutes, Australia seized their opportunity. Until then, their pack had been second best, but with an extra man they could build a platform from which to attack, and once in the lead, were able to hold out until the final whistle by keeping it tight – a feat South Africa could not manage.
Perhaps this is evidence that New Zealand will once again live up to their unenviable reputation of the best team between World Cups. Dan Carter appears to be a waning force at the moment, and defences are getting better at coping with their high-risk high-pace gameplan. Other teams will no longer have the same fear factor and it appears that their twenty-year wait for another world cup victory could continue.