The photograph says it all; the agony and ecstacy of a hard-fought Tri-Nations contest. We really enjoy Greg Crowden's Australian perspective on matters rugby, but he's taken this one badly - he opines:
IT doesn't get any more cruel than this. The Wallabies excel in all areas of play, except one - goalkicking - and they experience the pain and indignity of suffering their longest sequence of losses to the All Blacks.
The All Blacks were last night revelling in their historic 10th straight win over the Wallabies - beating the previous worst sequence of nine Australian losses between 1936-47, but the home team did not deserve such a humiliating end following the tightest of Test matches.
If only, Wallabies goalkicker Matt Giteau had not missed four shots at goal, and they would have been revelling in a great and justified victory. Instead after 10 points were missed, Australia were justifiably feeling sour and disillusioned after playing well for so long, and then not being able to stop the All Blacks in the final 15 minutes when they scored the required points to shoot ahead.
In another piece he writes:
Disregard for a second or two the one-point loss and the posturings of the All Blacks.
There is something stirring in this Wallaby outfit … and it is invigorating. They did enough to win last night, and should have. And they do not deserve to be ridiculed for suffering their 10th straight loss to the All Blacks, because judging by the faces of the New Zealanders at the end of the Test they knew that they had been truly blessed last night. They also knew they had got away with their luckiest win of the season.
He's right; it was a close-run thing, and there was a large element of luck in the final outcome. But isn't it nice to have the cards falling OUR way this time? Rather than praisning and building up the Wallabies too much, we reckon that Crowden and his fellow scribes on that side of the ditch should be asking how a team can let three major first-half advantages translate into two losses and a last-gasp win.