September 1 - 1982 Bay of Plenty v Australia

Australia, coming off the high of winning the second test, would have noted that Bay of Plenty had lost all their five championship matches and accordingly would have been full of confidence when the teams met in Rotorua. But, things did not play out as expected.

Frank Shelford - one of two All Blacks in the Bay side

The Visitors” R H Chester & N A C McMillan, Moa Publications, pub. 1990 p 588-589.

“With the series now standing at one test apiece, great interest centred upon the deciding match at Auckland in a fortnight’s time. Before that the touring side had three further provincial matches to play, the first against Bay of Plenty at Rotorua, where Stan Pilecki, the replacement for the hapless Griffiths, was to play his first match.

The home team was having a poor season and had lost all five of their division-one championship matches. The best known players in the Bay team were All Blacks Hika Reid and Frank Shelford. Gary Braid and Steve McDowall later gained All Black honours and there were a number of young promising players in the side, including New Zealand Juniors Mark Basham and Ron Preston, The Wallabies rested all their test players for this march, which was played in wet conditions.

The home team made a good start with Preston kicking a penalty goal in the second minute. Cameron then fielded a kick deep inside his own half and ran to halfway before punting ahead. The ball ran towards the goal-line, where Hanley appeared to have it covered. However, the speedy Basham dived on the ball as it crossed the line and gained a one-handed touch-down. Preston converted from wide out.

There was no more scoring for almost half an hour until some poor support play by the Wallabies allowed Cameron to snap up the loose ball as an Australian attack broke down deep inside Bay territory. The fullback raced to the line with Slack in desperate pursuit. Preston missed the kick from in front of the posts but was successful with another shot at goal when the Wallaby backs were caught offside at a five- metre scrum. Bay led by 16-0 as the teams changed ends.

Just after the resumption Preston burst away from a breakdown of play in midfield. He was chased downfield by several defenders but was able to touch down under the posts then convert his own try. In the 10th minute of the spell both Martin and Tuynman left the field with leg injuries and were replaced by Campese and Roche. Shortly after taking the field Campese lofted a high kick which bounced in the Bay in-goal area and was contested by a number of players before the Wallaby wing regained it to score an unconverted try. Almost immediately the home team responded with a similar try. From an attack down the right wing the ball came to McKillop, who hoisted a high centre-kick to the goalmouth, where Reid crashed over.

When Lane kicked hard upheld from deep on defence Campese pursued and retrieved the ball after Cameron had misjudged its flight. The speedster then had a clear 50 metre run to score a try which Lane converted. The nonstop action continued when a high kick by Cameron saw Glen Ella caught in possession and dispossessed by the Bay forwards, who drove to the line for Reid to collect his second try.

Five minutes from time Australia caught the local defence napping when they opted for a quick tap-kick from a penalty in the shadows of the Bay posts. Lane jinked through for a try and Campese goaled. Fittingly, the locals had the last word when they attacked from a five-metre serum. McCarroll ran wide and in-passed to Tietjens, who barged over wide out. To cap a splendid performance Preston landed his fifth conversion to treat 10,000 happy spectators to a 40-16 triumph. The Bay’s grand afternoon was acknowledged by the Wallabies, who stood back and clapped the victors off the ground.

From the opening minutes of play the locals had the match under control. They outplayed the visitors in all departments of the game with the exception of the lineouts. Reid was an inspirational leader, being prominent in the loose and strong in the tight play. Not far behind him was Gary Braid, who gave a lion-hearted performance. This pair received great support from the rest of the pack, and the backs had their best match of the season (which, ironically, ended with the Bay trailing the championship field). Preston notched 20 points and, along with Basham and the coolly

efficient McCarroll, was the pick of the backs.

The Wallabies were disorganised early on and although they eventually fought to regain composure, there was little prospect of them winning. Gary Ella and Southwell had steady games, and replacement wing Campese imparted flair to the attack. Cutler won good lineout ball, and Roche, after he came on, was conspicuous in the loose.

Bay coach Graeme Crossman was delighted that his team matched the Australians in the running game. His counterpart, Bob Dwyer, was obviously stunned after such a large defeat but conceded that Australia had been beaten by the better side. This was the highest total scored against a visiting Australian side and must have been a sobering experience after the euphoria of the Wallabies’ second test win.”