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By HSBC Waratahs Media Unit
The Qantas Wallabies fell to their trans-Tasman rivals the All Blacks by eight points at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, in front of a strong crowd of 76,877.
Despite a desperate push in the final few minutes, the Wallabies couldn’t break the Kiwi defence, with a penalty right on the siren denying the home side a bonus point in the opening Test of the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.
"Some of the errors were just unacceptable in any competition at any level," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said after the match.
"It shouldn't happen at this level. We have to be better in Auckland. That wouldn't be too hard, to be fair."
HSBC Waratah Berrick Barnes kicked 14 of Australia’s 19 point-tally, prompting Deans to credit the flyhalf’s performance. "Berrick did pretty well under the circumstances, he kicked superbly. We weren't quite able to secure enough momentum to make his job easier. When we did, he profited.”
The two sides meet again next weekend, when the Wallabies will have to end a 26-year Eden Park drought to secure a victory over the All Blacks and keep their Bledisloe Cup ambitions alive.
"We'll definitely be better next week, without a doubt,” said Deans.
There is plenty of room for improvement, especially in the first half where an error-strewn Wallabies performance left them 15 points down in the 34th minute.
A try from veteran lock Nathan Sharpe converted by Barnes cut the half time deficit to eight points, with three further Barnes penalties keeping the home side in contention.
Despite a desperate push in the final few minutes the Qantas Wallabies couldn’t break the All Blacks line, a final minute Dan Carter penalty denying the Wallabies a losing bonus point in the opening Test of the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.
Sat Mar 19, 7:40PM AEDT
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney