THE JOY of victory in the first leg of the 2015 Bledisloe Cup did not last long for the Australians, who fell to an irresistible All Black outfit on Saturday night.
Facing a home ground advantage that statistically would rival any in world sport, the Wallabies went into Eden Park knowing no visiting team has won there since 1994.
The All Blacks, which were celebrating captain Richie McCaw’s 142nd test (a world record), absolutely obliterated the Wallabies 41-13 and confirmed themselves as solid favourites for the upcoming 2015 World Cup in England.
New Zealand are currently $2.37 favourites for the World Cup at Sportsbet and will bring in plenty of momentum after beating Australia.
There are many All Blacks which will be leaving the squad post-World Cup, so this is their last chance to win a major trophy.
To make matters worse for Australia, the selection of trouble-making Quade Cooper seemingly backfired, as the no.10 was yellow carded after committing a penalty try offence.
Cooper tackled All Blacks half Aaron Smith around the head as he was about to score and referee Nigel Owens didn’t hesitate in calling the foul a penalty try and giving Cooper 10 minutes in the bin.
Speaking of Cooper, Wallabies winger Adam Ashley-Cooper believes his team can use that loss to their advantage come World Cup time this September.
“I think what we’ll draw back on is just how much the boys are hurting,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“That pain doesn’t go away easily, but you can use that.
“If you can turn that into a positive, that’s what we’ll try to do. We’ll remember this night, we’ll remember what we felt after the game and we’ll look to use that.
“My focus now moves towards the World Cup. I’ll put that behind me, use it as fuel and hopefully do some special things over in England.”
Despite winning impressively two backs ago in Sydney, Australia are on the fourth line of betting for the World Cup at $8 with CrownBet.com.au.
Ashley-Cooper was happy with Australia’s Rugby Championship win and he feels his side knows how to bounce back from a loss.
“We’ve just got to cop that on the chin,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“They [All Blacks] were the better team on the night, they deserved to win. For us, there’s still a lot of belief amongst the team.
“We’re doing some great things. We have to eat a little bit of humble pie there, but like any other loss, you respond and better yourself.”
Cheika defends Cooper selection
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika came under fire prior to starting Quade Cooper at 10 for the Bledisloe Cup last Saturday and he’s copping even more criticism now.
Cheika didn’t apologise over his selection of Cooper, saying after the game that he felt he had performed well before the high shot on Aaron Smith.
“The start of the game, that initial period, was when we were looking our best in attack,” Cheika said. “I thought he put us in a good position early on and made some good plays and led us around the park well, until he had to leave the field.”
Cooper wasn’t feeling sorry for himself after getting sent to the bin, but he wishes he could have helped his team out more.
“It was tough, being in the sin bin, watching the boys do the best they could a man down,” Cooper said.
“Having to do that against the best team in the world is very tough.
“It was hard watching on but we’ll continue to try and get better. But I felt that when I was out there I was able to do everything that was required of me. I felt that I was getting better and better.”
Like his teammates, Cooper feels confident heading forward into the World Cup.
“I have confidence in myself and the team,” Cooper said.
“We’re working very hard to have something special here, on and off the field.
“This team is bonding together very tightly and for myself, I’ll continue to work as hard as I can to make sure I can perform on the big stage.”
2015 Rugby World Cup betting
New Zealand are the dominating favourites at $2.37 with host-nation England at $4.50. South Africa toppled down the world rankings after losing to Argentina two backs ago, but they remain well-liked in the market at $6.50.
Ireland are currently, and surprisingly, ranked second in the world, but the bookmakers aren’t giving them much respect at $9. Ireland are one of many teams to have never defeated the All Blacks, so winning does seem unlikely unless another team knocks the AB’s out first.
2015 Rugby Union World Cup odds:
New Zealand – $2.37
England – $4.50 at Sportsbet.com.au
South Africa – $6.50
Australia – $8
Ireland – $9
France – $19
Wales – $21
Argentina – $81
Scotland – $201
Samoa – $301
Tonga – $1001
Georgia – $2001
Canada – $2001
USA – $3001
Romania – $5001
Namibia – $5001
Uruguay – $5001