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Wallabies can only blame themselves after letting golden opportunity slip

1. Wallabies buried in an avalanche of their own mistakes. The attitude was there but the execution was badly awry at Eden Park on Sunday. It was hard to keep count of the errors but three second-half mistakes in close succession were damaging – Marika Koroibete’s failure to finish in the corner, Brandon Paenga-Amosa’s double movement on the try line and Jordan Petaia’s careless carry that led to Sam Cane’s try after 54 minutes. Cane’s try pushed the score out to 27-7, and when Liam Wright was smashed by TJ Perenara minutes later, losing the ball at the same time, the game was done. Pressure caused some of the mistakes, but Dave Rennie will demand more of his players upon their return to Australia. It wasn’t good enough.

Coach Dave Rennie will expect plenty more from his Wallabies when the series resumes in Sydney on Saturday week.

Coach Dave Rennie will expect plenty more from his Wallabies when the series resumes in Sydney on Saturday week.Credit:AP

2. Taniela Tupou is a marked man. The Tongan Thor had All Blacks hooker Dane Coles in his face early, and it was a sign that the All Blacks had identified Tupou as the one player they had to stop. Every time Tupou received the ball he had at least one New Zealander on top of him, usually coming from outside in. It was relentless and it made the Wallabies continually play behind the advantage line. However, the end for Tupou really came when replacement All Blacks prop Alex Hodgman exploited the Reds prop’s poor bind at scrum time, driving Tupou back for a penalty in the game’s second quarter. Tupou did not return after half-time.

Taniela Tupou did not return in the second half for the Wallabies.

Taniela Tupou did not return in the second half for the Wallabies.Credit:Getty

3. Wallabies witness the birth of rugby’s next superstar. Caleb Clarke somehow failed to make the starting XV last week, but the Wallabies were not so lucky in Auckland, When David Campese lobbed some hand grenades at the All Blacks in a conversation earlier this week, he also made mention of Clarke. “He’s a big boy,” Campo said, in the year’s biggest understatement. Clarke smashed through multiple tackles, an unbelievable mix of power and movement. It is often said that rugby currently lacks a global superstar, the sort of player they put on the front of computer games. Clarke, 21, may be that player.

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