Missed penalty has cost me sleep says Wallabies Hodge

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Reece Hodge has admitted that he lost sleep on Sunday as he replayed his 82nd-minute penalty attempt that slammed into the goalposts in the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Wellington on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - Wales vs Australia - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Britain - November 11, 2017 Australia's Reece Hodge scores from a penalty Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Had Hodge’s penalty bisected the posts, and not cannoned high off the right-hand upright back into play, Australia would have won the game 19-16 and ended a losing streak against the All Blacks in New Zealand that stretches back to 2001.

It also would have given them a 1-0 lead in the four-test series for the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy, a trophy they have not held since the All Blacks won it back in 2003.

“It was a bit broken last night,” Hodge told reporters on Monday when asked whether he had slept or dwelled on the attempt from his own side of halfway.

“I have probably replayed it about half a dozen times now.

“When you have a chance to win the game you do tend to beat yourself up a bit.

“I guess that I’m lucky it was a (16-16) draw.”

Few people, however, could blame Hodge not being successful.

The notoriously blustery winds in New Zealand’s capital were swirling inside Wellington Regional Stadium and every player was having trouble tracking the flight of the ball.

The rain that affected much of the second half was also “horizontal” by the end of the game, he said.

Having watched the ball fly in every direction during warmups and then checked with flyhalf James O’Connor, who had kicked two earlier penalties, Hodge was confident he had a read on the conditions.

“The wind was kind of left to right (and) I aimed it for just inside the left post,” he said. “Turns out I should have aimed it just outside the left post.

“It’s obviously very disappointing. The guys did get around me but it still didn’t help my sleep.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Michael Perry