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Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 9:17:26 PM
Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 9:18:11 PM
by greg stutchbury
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A 'try' to hooker Stephen Moore early in the first half could have changed the entire fabric of Australia's Rugby Championship match with New Zealand on Saturday, coach Ewen McKenzie said.
Moore had apparently crossed the try line at Wellington Regional Stadium about seven minutes into the game and the reaction from the Wallabies' forwards climbing up off the grass was that they were convinced their veteran hooker had scored.
Loose forward Scott Fardy even motioned to referee Jaco Peyper to ask the television official to adjudicate on the supposed try, but the South African refused and went back to award a penalty for a previous All Blacks' infringement.
While Christian Leali'ifano managed to slot the penalty, McKenzie felt that had Peyper checked, as one of his assistants suggested he do, the Wallabies could have lifted their game even further.
"Massive difference (to the match)," a dejected McKenzie said when asked about Moore's non-try. "People don't understand if you're playing good footy and you get rewarded for it, it's a whole different psyche.
"When you have momentum in the game and you get rewarded for getting over the tryline, it's a different feel.
"The crowd was quiet and we were playing a lot of footy at that point. Those sort of things I consider enough in the game."
The All Blacks, who had defended for much of the first 30 minutes, soaked up the pressure, only conceding another Leali'ifano penalty before they scored 15 points in the final 15 minutes of the first half to give them enough of a buffer to run out 27-16 winners.
The victory ensured the world champions retained the Bledisloe Cup, the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy, for an 11th successive season.
McKenzie, who had said he had been angry at the 47-29 loss in Sydney in the opening clash of the Rugby Championship last week, repeated that sentiment on Saturday.
The 1991 World Cup winner had said in naming virtually an unchanged side for the Wellington clash that he wanted to give his players another opportunity to prove themselves.
After the second successive match when they were unable to capitalise on a wealth of possession and territory, he refused to specify whether they would get a third chance when the Wallabies host South Africa in Brisbane on September 7.
"We go back to the drawing board for a different look," he said.
"We started brightly and I was encouraged by the players and I thought tactically we were in better space but we needed to get reward early.
"If you get that, it's a different psyche and they were able to keep us out and got back in the game."
(Editing by Josh Reich)
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