All Blacks blow Wallabies away in Auckland
BLEDISLOE CUP II REPORT: An aggressive All Blacks team downed Australia 27-7 with a rollicking second half in Auckland on Sunday to answer their critics after an incoherent performance in last week’s drawn first Bledisloe Cup Test.
After the dramatic series opener, which ended 16-16, the All Blacks led 10-7 at half-time and scored three quick tries after the restart as they piled on 17 unanswered points in the second period.
Bruising wing Caleb Clarke, who had the crowd on the edge of their seats every time he touched the ball, led the way on his debut as the All Blacks played with a renewed physical presence and cohesion.
It was the seventh time in the past 13 years that the three-times world champions have started the annual Bledisloe Cup series with a mediocre performance and immediately bounced back.
The four-tries-to-one victory also dented Australian optimism about their new era under coach Dave Rennie, and extended the All Blacks’ impressive record at Eden Park, where they have not lost in 44 Tests since 1994 and where Australia have not won since 1986.
They now need to win only one of the two remaining games in the Bledisloe series, which will be played in Australia as part of the upcoming Tri-Nations tournament, to retain the trophy they have held since 2003.
There was added steel to the All Blacks pack with the inclusion of Dane Coles this week and the tension was evident from the start when almost all 30 players joined in a shoving match between Coles and Taniela Tupou.
When the dust settled, it was constant Wallabies attack for most of the first quarter until a carving run by fullback Beauden Barrett put the All Blacks deep in Australian territory, where flyhalf Richie Mo’unga opened the scoring with a handy penalty.
Barrett, Sam Cane and Aaron Smith were frequently able to highlight frailties in the Wallabies defensive wall and within five minutes of Mo’unga’s penalty they had the All Blacks back on attack where Smith darted around a ruck to score from close range.
Ned Hanigan set up the Wallabies’ try with a strong run up to the line, creating a huge overlap which saw Marike Koroibete finish off the move unopposed.
But when play resumed in the second half it was a three-try All Blacks blitz in the opening 13 minutes as Jordie Barrett, Ardie Savea and Sam Cane crossed the line in quick succession.
Savea’s try was off a blockbusting run by Clarke, in his first Test start, who brushed off would-be tacklers in a 30-metre run.
The Wallabies had chances to add to their total but Koroibete was denied one try when he was held up over the line and another when he was brought down just short of the line.
Man of the match: Beauden Barrett brought some great attacking play from the fullback position. He was a real handful in open space. Captain and loose forward Sam Cane was aggressive with ball in hand and on defence and the same can be said of his back-row partner Ardie Savea. For the Wallabies, Harry Wilson was a standout performer with his high work rate around the park. However, the award goes to All Blacks wing Caleb Clarke, who was absolutely devastating out wide. He had several powerful runs. One of those runs led to Ardie Savea’s fantastic try in the second half.
Moment of the match: The All Blacks scored some fantastic tries, but they were also good on defence. A magnificent try-saving tackle on Marika Koroibete in the 50th minute really put the game into perspective. The big Australian wing powered his way over the tryline, but was unbelievably held up by a couple of All Black defenders.
Villain: No one. Although, Wallabies fans might have something to say about all Marika Koroibete’s dropped balls out wide.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Smith, J Barrett, Savea, Cane
Cons: Mo’unga 2
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 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Damian McKenzie.
Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Nic White, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Jordan Petaia, 23 Reece Hodge.
Date: Sunday, October 18
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 16.00 (14.00 AEDT; 03.00 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keefe, Paul Williams
TMO: Mike Fraser
AFP & @rugby365com