Cheika unchanged a day after Dunedin

Cape Town - Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was still downcast after his side's narrow Rugby Championship loss to New Zealand but the match showed him his team could play at the same level as the world champions. "We can be proud of how we performed but we need to make sure that we don't sit down on that and that we keep improving for the next one".

But New Zealand weren't finished: a sweeping move ended with Beauden Barrett touching down for a last minute try, to give New Zealand a 35-29 victory.

"You could see he was a bit affected but anyway, that's the way it goes, they're the calls you've got to run with".

The Wallabies scored four tries in a spirited final quarter in Sydney after the damage had already been done and they came out firing a week later following a delayed kick-off and a minute's silence for All Blacks great Colin Meads, who lost his battle with cancer last weekend.

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They adapted well to this year's new regulations and are in a close fight with Mercedes for the title. The 32-year-old added that victory concluded a great weekend's work for him and the Mercedes team.

"We can't be happy with losing", Cheika told reporters in Sydney upon the team's return from New Zealand.

"After that second-last try, there was still a long time to go, so it was a matter of just trying to exit from our half and that was our focus".

Australia: I Folau; D Haylett-Petty, T Kuridrani, K Beale, H Speight; B Foley, W Genia; S McMahon, M Hooper (c), N Hanigan; R Arnold, R Simmons; A Alaalatoa, S Moore, S Sio. "Number one I can say, because it was clear to everyone, is [Retalllick] has picked one of our blokes up and put him on his head".

The world champions, however, had to dig deep after they had conceded an early 17-0 deficit and then had to overcome Kurtley Beale's 76th-minute try that had given the Wallabies a 29-28 lead.

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Folau set the tone for the Wallabies' performance with his try after little more than 40 seconds, swooping on a pass by All Blacks fullback Damian McKenzie and dashing 65 meters to score.

"That's what the Bledisloe Cup is about", All Blacks captain Kieran Read said.

New Zealand's scrum gave them a huge advantage in the middle stages of the game but the hosts made too many handling errors to fully capitalize.

The Wallabies again muscled up and Foley had a chance to add another three points at the 30-minute mark but his strike hit the right upright. They had three tries disallowed, to winger Ioane, fullback Smith and lock Brodie Retallick, but remained composed and closed the gap with Aaron Smith's try on the tick of halftime. "You're in the best possible position you can be in and you've just got to get out there and do what you do".

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(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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