All Blacks head coach Ian Foster insisted Rieko Ioane’s botched try was not to blame for New Zealand’s wild stalemate against Australia in the Bledisloe Cup opener.
The All Blacks and Wallabies played out a dramatic 16-16 draw in Wellington, where a long-range kick from Australia’s Reece Hodge sensationally struck the post in additional time on Sunday.
New Zealand had led 8-3 at the interval through Jordie Barrett’s ninth-minute try before Aaron Smith extended the lead early in the second half, but Australia rallied as Marika Koroibete and debutant Filipo Daugunu crossed over.
The All Blacks should have led 13-3 heading into the break, however, Ioane’s try on the stroke of half-time was chalked off after failing to ground the ball.
It is a game of millimetres.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 11, 2020
Australia eventually hit back as James O’Connor and Barrett traded penalties during the closing stages before an extra nine minutes were played without a winner, but Foster defended Ioane.
“It would’ve been useful,” Foster told reporters post-game when asked about Ioane’s disallowed try, following his first Test as All Blacks coach.
“He’s feeling pretty frustrated with himself but that’s one of those little lessons players have to go through and I thought he had a reasonably strong game besides that.
“That’s why they call it a Test match – you’ve got to take those little moments and when you get a little bit sloppy in those moments, it can come back and bite you.”
202 – The @AllBlacks made 202 tackles in this afternoon’s #BledisloeCup Test against Australia; it’s the second consecutive Test they’ve had to make 200+ (206 v Wales, November 2019) after not even reaching that mark in any Test prior since 2010. Challenging.#NZLvAUS pic.twitter.com/0XcHgNUaIy
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) October 11, 2020
Asked if Ioane’s error cost the All Blacks who denied Australia first win in New Zealand since 2001, Foster – Steve Hansen’s replacement – replied: “Not at all.
“We had a chance to win the game in the last 10 minutes and we weren’t good enough to execute on it,” Foster said.
“You don’t dwell on errors in Test matches – there were a lot of errors before that and there were a lot of errors after that.
“It certainly would’ve been nice but it’s not the reason we drew.
“You make an error, you move on. He’s confident young man but he’s got to learn from that one little thing.”
The All Blacks made 202 tackles against Australia – the second successive match they have been forced to make 200-plus tackles (206 against Wales in November 2019) after not even reaching that mark in any Test prior since 2010, per Opta.