It might seem like much ado about nothing, but the Wallabies’ recent dead rubber Bledisloe Cup win against the All Blacks in Brisbane has some whistling a merry tune.
With weather conditions more suited to Auckland than Brisbane, the Aussie national side squeezed by the Kiwis, something that is a rarity in any circumstance, blue skies or gray.
The superlatives describing the Wallabies’ play are nearly endless. Michael Cheika’s men did fully exert themselves and played with the sort of conviction that is often absent against the best national side in the world.
There also were great individual efforts to complement those of the team as a whole. Cheika tasked his players with playing the entire 80 minutes, something one might think unnecessary, but anything less than a full 80 minutes could easily have resulted in a different outcome.
What must not be lost in the process, however, is that the All Blacks had nothing to prove after winning the first two of the three-game series. For all anyone knows, they could have sent substitutes to the game cleverly disguised.
The win was the first in the past eight encounters for the Wallabies. The forward pack played especially well, especially considering the embarrassing effort they provided in Dunedin. They stood in effectively when playmakers Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale were having a rough outing, which is important, because in the past, when an Australia fly-half has struggled, the entire side was also dismal.
There was plenty from the match about which to be hopeful, including the ability of Adam Coleman to find another gear and the bullish play of Lukhan Tui coming on early in the second half.
Jack Dempsey was also a bright spot, backing his fine play in Argentina two weeks ago with a man of the match performance in the final Bledisloe Cup game.
With success come expectations, however, and those expectations for a four-game spring tour of Europe.