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AllBlacks set the early pace

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Sportal.co.nz     18 Aug 2012     Getty Images

An error-ridden first half for both sides, but with greater consequences for the home team, marred the game. However, clear superiority at the set piece saw the All Blacks create two superb tries to achieve a deserved lead.

Early penalty goals were traded by the five-eighths, Berrick Barnes for Australia after two minutes and Dan Carter in the ninth minute.

But at the first opportunity afterwards, from a midfield scrum, No.8 Kieran Read fed the ball left to Carter who ran wide, and then passed behind second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams and left-wing Hosea Gear while fullback Israel Dagg looped behind Gear along the sideline. He then beat fullback Kurtley Beale on the outside to score wide out.

Australia stepped into catch-up mode but failed to secure from two opportunities, the first from a tap penalty taken by halfback Will Genia but the All Blacks defences held superbly and then in the 33rd minute a charge down of a Barnes kick opened up a chance. The ball was taken on the rebound by Beale and he in-passed to No.8 Scott Higginbotham and he dropped the ball cold.

From the scrum the ball was cleared downfield by Carter but Genia's in pass to Beale was also dropped. Another scrum provided a chance for another set piece play where Read tidied the ball to feed halfback Aaron Smith running wide. The ball moved through Carter and Dagg whose quick hands created space on the outside for right wing Cory Jane to also go around Beale to score wide out.

From the restart the Australians secured the ball and from a maul the ball was retained and it was wing Digby Ioane who made a strong run close to the ruck to set up the chance for lock Nathan Sharpe to cross by the posts. Barnes' conversion made the half-time score 18-10.