Retallick, McCaw head the All Black myth busters
Lynn McConnell 23 Aug 2014 Getty Images
Following McCaw's lead Brodie Retallick continued to carve his own niche among the great locks who have graced the All Blacks game – a fact acknowledged by the Eden Park cognoscenti with a standing ovation at his substitution eight minutes from the end.
It appears the tougher the contest the greater his effort. At one stage in a rampant second quarter Retallick was flying through the air towards the goal-posts and it was only a stray Australian hand beneath the ball that prevented him claiming a startling try when he complete his touchdown.
Not that it mattered, a penalty try resulted from the scrum that followed. But it was emblematic of the effort the rangy lock produced on the night in which his running with the ball in hand may have been the most impressive aspect of his night.
But he wasn't alone. Locking partner Sam Whitelock was in the thick of it all night.
It's a measure of where the All Blacks are at when McCaw, who appeared on a one-man tackling mission to demonstrate to any doubters there's still plenty left in his game, was sin-binned after 12 minutes. New Zealand added three points, while Australia conceded two tries when lock Rob Simmons was sin-binned in the 22nd minute as New Zealand jumped out to a 23-6 lead.
Showing greater discipline under stress New Zealand showed they were in no mood to give the Australians a sniff.
This was a side latent in its desire to prove its worth and to consign Australian claims to a lessening gap between the sides to the bunkem heap.
When prop forwards like Owen Franks, sidestep and all, and Wyatt Crockett, and Retallick and Whitelock, are as prominent with the ball in hand as any of the backs, it is a clear sign of the intent in the side.
While they were making the contributions that provided openings for second five-eighths Ryan Crotty and centre Conrad Smith, the Australians were constantly on the back foot.
This was a game similar to those earlier in the season against England when the lift in the All Blacks' tempo took them to a different stratosphere and the Australians were left fighting a losing battle in attempting to halt the tide.
Australia were not helped by comparative slowness from halfback where both Nic White and Nick Phipps were guilty of taking extra steps before passing the ball. That merely allowed New Zealand more time to regroup in defence.
But it was the spirit of the home team that couldn't be faulted. Twice running the ball from their own in-goal area, the played with a confidence in the first 60 minutes that demonstrates they still have the wood on the competition.
Even after a fine starting debut Crotty left the field at half-time, but Malakai Fekitoa came on and fitted in superbly as three tries in the third quarter demonstrated the tenacity of the combination with hard-running from Julian Savea adding to the equation.
The insertion of the All Blacks reserves bench created enough disruption that Australia scored two tries to ease themselves out of a record losing margin but it couldn't disguise the fact that this was a thrashing of the highest order.
Most popular News:
New Zealand Women’s Sevens team named for World Series opener in Dubai25.Nov.2014
The Tight Five: What we learned about the All Blacks24.Nov.2014
The Foreign Five: What the All Blacks learned about Europe24.Nov.2014
Aaron Mauger swaps Crusaders for Tigers24.Nov.2014
Tickets for #RWC2015 back on sale!24.Nov.2014
Hansen not talking up All Blacks World Cup chances23.Nov.2014