All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup with record winning margin

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The game, a record margin, also opened the side's Tri Nations campaign with a bonus point and extended the side's run of Cup success since regaining it in 2003.

 

Up 26-0 at halftime, the All Blacks lost shape in the third quarter but finished strongly with two late tries which reflected the dominance the Cup holders enjoyed. Two other first-half tries were also ruled out which could have made the margin even worse.

 

This was the weakest of the Australian sides in the three Tests played to date. Error-ridden and down on discipline, they were outplayed, especially in the tight exchanges.

 

They were also on the receiving end of a master class turned on by first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga who enjoyed his classiest game in the All Blacks' jersey, scoring two tries and ending with 23 points.

 

Australia had taken an untried five-eighths combination into the Test and it proved too tall an order, especially when they were having to cope with a lack of foundation in front of them.

 

Australia paid an early price when three minutes into the game wing Filipo Daugunu was guilty of tackling marker Caleb Clarke while he was attempting to take a kick in mid-air. He was yellow-carded and that saw the All Blacks take advantage through two lineout ploys, the second of which saw the ball moved to the middle of the field.

 

Halfback Aaron Smith turned the ball back to the blindside and picked out prop Karl Tu'inukuafe with a long pass and he slipped inside a defender and slid over the line, in the wet conditions, to score.

 

But no sooner had that happened than the All Blacks ran the ball back and in the process of running onto a pass from centre Anton Lienert-Brown, wing Jordie Barrett was ruled to have led with his elbow in a tackle and was also sin-binned.

 

However, New Zealand took the pressure and attacked again with hooker Dane Coles looking to have run onto a perfectly-placed kick to the corner by Mo'unga to score, but the TMO ruled the try as a knock-on.

 

Moments later, in the 13th minute, a sharp blindside burst on the right-wing by Clarke saw him pushed into touch in-goal before he could ground the ball.

 

A high kick from fullback Beauden Barrett produced an off-side play by Australia and from the resulting lineout, the All Blacks shuffled the maul towards midfield, opening up the blindside.

 

Smith and Mo'unga worked a reverse pass behind the maul which allowed Mo'unga to run blind, take a gap outside hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, and inside halfback Nic White. He then ran around first five-eighths Noah Lolesio to score a fine solo try.

 

Six minutes later, he was in again after the All Blacks secured a turnover which allowed Beauden Barrett to step into first receiver and put a chip kick into open space allowing Mo'unga to run onto the ball, beat two defenders and to clear out, with Barrett running alongside him all the way to score.

 

To make matters worse for the Australians, they conceded a penalty after Lolesio, without any support, was forced to cover a kick ahead by second five-eighths Jack Goodhue. He held onto the ball too long and from the lineout, the All Blacks set their maul and this time Coles scored his try in the 29th minute.

Halftime couldn't come quick enough for the home side. But they came out from the break to make an immediate, if unsustained, impact. Hesitation at clearing ball by Smith from a ruck saw the Australians turn over ball. That allowed centre Jordan Petaia to get a head of steam up for a strong run deep into the All Blacks' 22.

 

The ball was quickly in White's hands and he had Lolesio running onto his pass to finally open the Australian scoring, two minutes into the second half.

 

The middle stages of the second half were messy, for both sides. The Australians were guilty of coughing up ball, while also conceding penalties that allowed the All Blacks to several times return ball into the Australian half.

 

The insertion of replacements for both sides didn't help, but once the All Blacks absorbed the changes, the result was instantaneous. Off a scrum, called by replacement captain Sam Whitelock, five metres from the Australian line, No8  Hoskin Sotutu picked up the ball, ran blind and fed replacement wing Rieko Ioane in at the corner after 71 minutes.

 

Then Mo'unga was back in the action again from a mid-field ruck, feeding a short pass to replacement fullback Jordie Barrett who burst straight into space to run 50m to score.

 

The winning margin of 38 is the largest the All Blacks have achieved against Australia, eclipsing the 43-6 victory at Athletic Park in 1996.

 

Scorers: Australia 5 (Noah Lolesio try) New Zealand 43 (Karl Tu'inukuafe, Richie Mo'unga 2, Dane Coles, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett tries; Mo'unga 5 con, pen). HT: 0-26

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