'Bit surprised he thinks it's disrespectful': Ioane antics set stage for spicy Auckland encounter

The All Blacks and Wallabies meet again in Auckland on Saturday, 10 days after their dramatic clash at Marvel Stadium, a Test that won't be forgotten for a long time to come.

While the Bledisloe Cup has been locked away in New Zealand for a 20th straight year there is still plenty to play for at Eden Park, with the All Blacks looking to claim another Rugby Championship and the Wallabies hunting a drought-breaking win at the famous Auckland venue.

And there appear to be some tensions simmering away at the heart of this fixture, not just because of Darcy Swain's cleanout and subsequent suspension but also on the account of the Australians who have taken umbrage with some of the All Blacks' actions in Melbourne.

Read on as we break down some of the big talking points for Saturday's Test.


Seven days on, the rugby world continues to debate the decision of French referee Mathieu Raynal, who pinged Bernard Foley for time-wasting and awarded a scrum to the All Blacks, from which Jordie Barrett scored a try to steal a dramatic 39-37 victory.

There has been both support and outrage for Raynal's decisions, while the discussions have now moved to what the call might mean for "time-wasting" overall.

The Wallabies, meanwhile, have done their best to put that decision, and the defeat, to bed.

But they remain perturbed by one action from Rieko Ioane, who was spotted mouthing off in the face of Folau Fainga'a after Barrett's match-winning five-pointer.

"There's a lot of motivating points in there," Rennie replied when asked whether the blood was still boiling from last week's defeat.

"I know Rieko Ioane had a lot to say to our boys after the final try, mouthing off at Folau Fainga'a about disrespecting the haka, which is a bit odd because as New Zealanders would know, when a team does a haka you respond with a haka; we don't have the luxury of responding with a haka.

"So our response was in the boomerang shape and to move forward, and by throwing down a challenge we're accepting it. There's a fair bit of banter that goes on [out] on the field, and it just adds to the theatre I think."

Asked whether Ioane's actions were banter or disrespect, Rennie replied: "It's just standard."

The Wallabies have used the boomerang shape as a way of responding to the haka on multiple occasions now, it being a nod to the Indigenous cultures of Australia from which current squad member Kurtley Beale hails.

They have also worn the Indigenous jersey on multiple occasions, and also sung the national anthem in the Eora language for the Test against Argentina in Sydney in 2020.

It remains unclear exactly what Ioane said to Fainga'a, but if Rennie is to be believed then it was in protest to the Wallabies response to the haka and the decision to advance - as far as World Rugby permits - to the All Blacks.

"No, I mean, that's our reply, it's how we respond," Rennie replied when asked whether the Wallabies would shelve the Boomerang.

"I was just a bit surprised that he thinks it's disrespectful. That there's an expectation that we just stand there and they throw a challenge at us and we do nothing. Just take it.

"We think it's a very respectful way of responding, and it's unique to us because of the boomerang shape, so we won't we won't be stopping that."


The other key talking point to come out of Bledisloe I, besides Raynal's decision, was Darcy Swain's clean-out of Quinn Tupaea, which saw the All Blacks centre suffer an MCL injury and partial ACL tear.

Swain on Wednesday night fronted a SANZAAR judiciary panel, eventually receiving a six-week ban that will leave him free to play the back half of the Wallabies' spring tour after Rugby Australia successfully used the Australia A tour as a portion of his suspension.

Rennie on Thursday said it was always the plan for Swain to tour Japan, given he had missed the second and third Tests against England through an earlier suspension for head-butting Englishmen Jonny Hill and then only having had sparing time off the bench since.

"Yeah, we had nine in this group going," Rennie explained of that decision, which had also been the subject of much debate across the rugby world. "Guys like Ben Donaldson, who has been on the edge of it as well. We're keen for a number of those guys to get as much footy as possible leading into a World Cup next year.

"Darcy is still a young lock, he's in his second year of international footy. We're keen for him and Cadeyrn Neville and Nick Frost to go away and get a bit more footy prior to the end of year tour and maximise that. Unfortunately he's going to miss a fair bit of footy over the next month or so."

All Blacks coach Ian Foster who had voiced his anger at Swain's cleanout immediately after last week's win, did his best to avoid discussion around Rugby Australia's use of the Australia A team but did say he believed a just outcome had been reached in the lock's six-week ban.

"It is what it is. We spoke after the game and basically said there's a process that people go through, we're fully aware of that, we go through that ourselves, so he's got what he's got," Foster said Thursday. "I haven't read the judiciary [report], but clearly he's gone through a process and that's what they've come up with...I don't know all that [use of the Australia A tour], the judiciary will have taken that into account and they've come up with what they [think] is fair; our people will always review decisions to make sure we learn from the processes.

"But it seems to me that they've come up with a pretty satisfactory answer."

Rennie said the Wallabies had used examples of similar cleanouts from Sam Whitelock and Fletcher Newell in Swain's defence, revealing that Scott Sio's hamstring injury was a "direct" result of the Crusaders prop's cleanout in Melbourne.

Rennie also said the Swain had spoken with Tupaea after the game and then again sought to contact him through the week -- a move Foster said he wasn't aware of either way -- the Wallabies coach again revealing his frustrations over the lack of citing for Newell.

"He [Swain] spoke to Quinn after the game and then made contact with him through I think it was Tyrel Lomax who gave him the number to try and contact him," Rennie said. "I hear they're fuming. We're not that excited about Fletcher Newell's cleanout on Scott Sio. He's going to be out for three weeks and he didn't even get cited or carded during the game. As part of our defence we used that.

"[We] mentioned he should have been cited as well. We're not happy and neither is Darcy. He's not happy with the action or the result. But it's not malicious. He's been punished and six weeks is a hefty punishment I reckon. Fletcher Newell gets to live another day."


After missing last week's Test in Melbourne because of the birth of his third child, All Blacks back-rower Ardie Savea returns to the New Zealand starting as part of a new-look loose forward trio that also features Dalton Papalii and Akira Ioane.

Savea has been brilliant for the All Blacks over the past few years, the Hurricanes skipper's ability to make metres up there with the best of any player across the globe.

Harry Wilson, who starts at No. 8 for the Wallabies this weekend, is still finding his feet at Test level, having burst onto the scene in 2020. The Reds back-rower was barely sighted in the gold jersey last year and his only involvement in 2022 had been the third Test against England.

But he has another opportunity this weekend, this time in his favoured No. 8 spot, and Rennie is hopeful that will coincide with similar form to that which he showed on his debut in Wellington two years ago.

"Obviously with Rob Leota out, one option was to move Jed Holloway back to No.6 but we like him at lock," Rennie explained. "That puts him in the middle of the park a lot more. He's a good carrier and good defender. He's got a great skillset.

"Harry has been working really hard, he's leaned down a bit. He's been desperate for an opportunity and he gets it. We're looking forward to seeing him go. We played him at six last time we played him. This time we've given him the eight jersey. He should get more opportunities to carry which would be great. They'll be a good tag team him and Bobby [Valetini]."


One of the lasting criticisms of the Rugby Championship is that it has never been particularly close, apart from in World Cup years when South Africa and Australia have each claimed the title; the All Blacks have, for the large part, dominated the tournament.

But the situation couldn't be any more different this season, with each nation enjoying success both at home and away, and the tournament winners are set to be decided on the championship's final day.

When they run out in Durban on Saturday, the Springboks will know exactly what they have to do to claim the title. If the Wallabies are to deny the All Blacks a bonus-point win, or even end 36 years of heartache in Auckland with an unlikely victory, then South Africa will be in the box seat to lift the trophy on home soil against the Pumas.

But if the All Blacks do run out bonus-point winners, then the pressure will be squarely on South Africa who at the moment trail New Zealand by a points-differential of 13.

"It's got a final type feel [to it], rather than a knockout," Foster said when asked to assess Saturday's Test.

"If you look at the Rugby Championship there are a few unknowns aren't there, so there are some parts we can't control because there is a game after us, but there's a massive part that we can control.

"We can control the quality of our performance and we know [after] last week we're playing against a team that we've got massive respect for and pushed us to the wire. And we've taken a whole lot of lessons from that, but we've got to make sure we've learnt from them.

"So for us it's a big occasion, we just want to go out there and put our best foot forward and we've got to control what we can control which is our performance. And what happens after that we'll wait and see."

While the Wallabies are at long odds to halt their horror run at Eden Park, Rennie won't want to let his slide slip to a heavy defeat which would completely erase a lot of the good they did in Melbourne last week.

And they are also playing without the pressure of the Bledisloe being on the line. Australian fans will be hoping that, and the fact they still need to send a message to the elite nations of world rugby, could drive the Wallabies to something special.

Certainly they can make it easier on themselves than they did last week.

"Yeah, it's massive because playing New Zealand in New Zealand, as we know, is a difficult task," Rennie said. "But as I've mentioned before, it's the same size pitch as last week. We've got to ensure that we can bring the same sort of intensity.

"I thought the mindset and the attitude was excellent. We got behind early and managed to claw our way back into it. We lacked disciplined, got punished, and then the All Blacks punished us on the scoreboard while we were down in numbers. But we showed a huge amount of character to come back into the game. You can't give the All Blacks time and space and we certainly can't try and play them with 13 players.

"So there's a number of areas that we need to be better but if we're going to replicate the same mindset and physicality, then we're on with a show."