Australia coach Robbie Deans lamented his side’s inability to take their scoring opportunities but remained optimistic about their development.
The Wallabies led 10-0 and then 13-3, but failed to kick on despite crafting a number of chances, the best of which came when Berrick Barnes cut the line but failed to find his team-mates on his outside.
If they’d scored, they would have gone 12 points clear, but the All Blacks punished them shortly thereafter, with Richie McCaw crossing for the try that swung the momentum in his side’s favour.
‘We created a lot of opportunities but didn’t come out of it as well as we’d like in terms of turning that into points,’ said Deans.
‘We allowed the All Blacks to play that conservative sort of game and grind it out. We were much better than this time a year ago but we are frustrated to be still short.
‘It’s work in progress and we will just keep going. It’s a [winning] habit that we have to acquire but it’s coming.’
All Blacks coach Graham Henry said the win was built on character.
‘We got behind early by 10 and I guess there are two ways you can go then. But the guys showed some character and that was very pleasing,’ he said. ‘Some guys hadn’t played for a while; they were a bit rusty and got better as the game went on.’
Henry added, ‘We have a foundation to build on. Some of the players haven’t played for a while, so we should get better for the Tri-Nations.’