Michael Cheika casts 'gallant loser' tag aside in defeat

Posted August 27, 2017

The New Zealand Herald asked - albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek - whether the Black Ferns, the nation's women's rugby team, could beat the Wallabies in their current shape.

The All Blacks finally gained the lead for the first time with Barrett's first try in the 60th minute, edging ahead 21-17.

Australia were hammered 54-34 in Sydney last week, but provided a flawless response to their critics, racing out to a 17-0 lead that started with an 80m intercept try from Israel Folau inside the first 30 seconds.

The fullback, who is taking the rest of the season off with a sabbatical, scored a vital try in the final 10 minutes of the 35-29 minute.

And with the Wallabies' next match in Perth on September 9, the timing couldn't be more flawless. Captain Michael Hooper in the 11th minute and flyhalf Bernard Folau, in the 15th, added tries which stunned the All Blacks in Dunedin's indoor stadium.

The All Blacks scored five tries by wings Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and flyhalf Beauden Barrett (2). Soon after though, they were sprung, as Aaron Smith snuck through from the base of a scrum to bridge the gap to three points at the half. Picking up the ball behind a dominant scrum five metres out, Smith stepped inside Hooper to put the All Blacks back in the game. Of course, no New Zealand is ever out of the game and they roared back into contention with two tries late in the half and could have easily been in the lead if not for a minor indiscretion from Crotty and a dropped pill from Ben Smith.

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Cheika said he felt other decisions had gone against his side, who had raced out to a 17-0 lead and then led 29-28 with less than four minutes remaining, which halted their momentum at crucial times.

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read has labelled last weekend's second-half Test showing against Australia as a "kick in the guts", foreshadowing an even more ruthless display in the second Test in Dunedin. (We want to) give people a smile on their face around the game.

"I think he would've said it was a pretty darn good game and he'd be pretty happy I'm sure that the All Blacks got on top".

"She has had to put up with a lot with me and rugby, so it is nice for her as well".

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika revealed he had received a large amount of hate mail from disgruntled fans this week. "You don't like to be gallant losers", Cheika said.

"I thought we deserved to win". Reeling from an earlier Kurtley Beale try, the All Blacks - staring down the barrel of defeat - composed themselves well enough to get the ball back from kick-off and quickly puncture the Wallabies' line. That's the way she rolls. I understand that's the way it goes sometimes, but I wanted them to get the reward, but it didn't end up working out that way.