This weekend’s historic Bledisloe rugby union Test at Perth Stadium has been called off after lawyers for the Australian and New Zealand sides struck a binding agreement on what an acceptable final score might have been.
While the scoreline is subject to a confidentiality clause, The Bug has been told by usually reliable sources within Rugby Australia that the legal eagles after protracted discussions settled on 43-3 to New Zealand, one that the Australian negotiating team accepted was a face-saving outcome “given all the circumstances”.
The Perth Test was to have been played at 7.45pm this Saturday with the second and final match at Eden Park, Auckland, on August 17.
One knowledgeable insider told The Bug: “With only two Bledisloe Tests this year, the All Blacks already holding the trophy and the fact that Australia has never, ever won at Eden Park, even against a NZ emerging-talent schoolboys side, a match in Perth wouldn’t have made any difference regardless of the outcome.
“As it’s turned out, I think the Wallabies can be very proud of restricting the All Blacks to 43 points off the back of only six tries.”
Nevertheless, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika rued a number of simple ball-handling errors and a woeful lineup performance for this Saturday night’s scoreline.
“I know Bernard Foley was also bitterly disappointed in only converting one of the nine penalties we were awarded, especially as all of them were right in front of the sticks,” Cheika added.
“Still, I hope the hundreds of boys and men who still play the game in Australia were satisfied with our performance.”
Australia has not won the Bledisloe Cup for 45 years and this year’s contest also looked grim, with the poor state of Australian rugby clearly exposed with Israel Falou absent on preaching duties and mentoring sessions with Australia’s LGBTQI community, bad-boy James O’Connor a shock recall to the starting lineup, and veterans Chris Handy and Peter Fitzsimons (both pictured at top) named on the bench.