VIDEO: Rout keeps Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand
MATCH REPORT: The Bledisloe Cup will remain in New Zealand for at least another year.
The All Blacks scored their biggest-ever win over the Wallabies – a 43-5 rout in Sydney on Saturday – to confirm their Trans-Tasman superiority.
The Kiwis have held the trophy now for the past 18 years.
The more experienced All Black backs embarrassed their inexperienced rivals – who got a front row seat in a lecture on wet-weather rugby.
The All Blacks dominated possession in the first half and the Wallabies – in stark contrast – kept wasting the few opportunities that came their way.
That resulted in the scoreboard picture – 26-0.
Most of the second half was more even, on the scoreboard at least. However, in reality the All Black had gone into cruise mode and when required put points on the board to open that gap as wide as it deserved to be.
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After winning 27-7 in Auckland, which followed a tense 16-all draw in Wellington, they accomplished their mission in Sydney by their biggest ever winning margin against the Wallabies, with one match of the series to go next week.
Richie Mo’unga bagged 23 points to ensure bragging rights went to New Zealand coach Ian Foster, who like his opposite number Dave Rennie is in charge for his first Bledisloe Cup tournament.
“It’s more than a relief, it’s exciting,” said All Blacks captain Sam Cane, adding that the team would celebrate with “a few fizzies”.
“It’s a lot of feelings but I’m just really proud of the group and excited about what’s ahead.”
While the match was the third Bledisloe fixture, it was also the first of the Tri-Nations also featuring Argentina – rebranded from the Rugby Championship after world champions South Africa pulled out.
In front of just 25,000 fans in a wet Sydney, below the 38,000 allowed under coronavirus rules, the All Blacks overwhelmed the Wallabies in a breathtaking first half that saw two yellow cards, four tries and two disallowed tries.
A ragged Australia was fortunate to only be down 0-26 at the break and there was no way back for Rennie’s men despite lifting their game in the second stanza.
While the Wallabies cut down on missed tackles, New Zealand was physically too strong and again exposed the frailties of their defensive wall.
And they badly missed the calming presence of experienced backs Matt To’omua and James O’Connor, who were both out with injuries.
The opening 10 minutes were action-packed with Filipo Daugunu yellow-carded for tackling All Blacks dangerman Caleb Clarke in the air.
Australia paid the price with New Zealand prop Karl Tu’inukuafe powering over for his maiden Test try on four minutes.
Jordie Barrett joined Daugunu on the sidelines for elbowing Wallabies fullback Dane Haylett-Petty in the face, before All Blacks hooker Dane Coles had a try disallowed on review for a knock-on.
The Wallabies were desperately defending and only a top-class tackle from Marika Koroibete on the line prevented Clarke stretching New Zealand’s lead.
But the All Blacks were red-hot and Mo’unga scored a brilliant individual try, beating three players, to pile more pressure on.
He then bagged another, sprinting almost half the length of the field after a Beauden Barrett chip, before Coles finally got the try he deserved after a superb rolling maul from the forwards allowed him to dot down in the corner.
Australia looked dejected stomping off at half-time but Rennie’s pep talk appeared to work and they were far more disciplined at the start of the second period.
And in a hopeful sign for the future, 20-year-old debutant Noah Lolesio romped over for a try a minute after the restart following a barnstorming run from Jordan Petaia, who is also 20.
The game slowed down with conditions heavy and after several botched Australian attacks, man-of-the match Mo’unga booted a penalty and Reiko Ioane darted over for their fifth try.
Jordie Barrett rubbed salt in their wounds with another try as the clock ticked down.
It was the first time since 2009 the All Blacks had wrapped up the Bledisloe series on Australian soil and proved sweet revenge for their last game in Australia, when they were walloped 47-26 in Perth.
Man of the match: It was not a day of Australian heroes. Marika Koroibete did some great work on defence, including a try-saving tackle, and Dane Haylett-Petty was the one Aussie back that showed poise and class for most of the match. The real stars all wore black. Shannon Frizell is continuing to show his value to the All Blacks – his enormous workrate allowing his fellow loose forwards more freedom. Aaron Smith’s role in directing and setting up plays – especially on marshalling the blindside – should never be underestimated. His service was also up to his usual high standard. Our award goes to All Black flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, who showed his class – especially in scoring his try-double, when he exposed the Wallabies’ defensive frailties.
Moments of the match: All six tries contributed to the rout, but the Richie Mo’unga one-two – in the 21st and 27th minutes – is what turned a relatively close contests into a one-sided affair. The first came when Mo’unga took the ball down the blindside and beat a couple of forwards with pure pace for an impressive solo try. The second came from a terrific kick over the top by Beauden Barrett, with Mo’unga running onto the ball and getting a favourable bounce – running about 30 metres to score a try under the uprights.
Villains: It wasn’t particularly nasty – more reckless. However, Filipo Daugunu (Australia, for tackling a player in the air), Jordie Barrett (New Zealand, for an elbow to the face) and Shannon Frizell (New Zealand, high tackle) all spent time in the sin bin.
For New Zealand
Tries: Tu’inukuafe, Mo’unga 2, Cole, Ioane, J Barrett
Cons: Mo’unga 5
Yellow cards: Filipo Daugunu (Australia, 3 – foul play, tackling a player in the air), Jordie Barrett (New Zealand, 9 – foul play, elbow to the face), Shannon Frizell (New Zealand, 79 – foul play, high tackle)
Australia: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Hunter Paisami.
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Rieko Ioane.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Nic Berry
TMO: Angus Gardner
- Additional reporting by AFP