The All Blacks claimed the Bledisloe Cup in stunning fashion, punishing the wayward Wallabies 57-22 in a record Eden Park drubbing.
A ripping first-half contest turned ugly for Australia after the break in the Auckland rain, New Zealand running in four tries in a lethal 18-minute spell. The All Blacks now have an unassailable 2-0 lead before the series concludes in Perth in a fortnight, and lengthens the Bledisloe Cup’s stay in New Zealand to 19 years.
Australia’s wait at Eden Park also goes on: losers in their past 21 matches at their house of horrors across a miserable 35-year run. In terms of points conceded, none was worse than Saturday night.
David Havili’s 82nd minute effort pushed New Zealand to their highest score against Australia in 118 years of Tests.
It could have been so different for Dave Rennie’s side, which were enterprising and – as promised – physical in a pulsating first half.
At 21-15 at the break and with Ardie Savea in the bin, they will rue a wayward lineout deep in All Blacks territory that preceded their butchering. Turnovers killed their hopes: twice the Wallabies threw into the arms of All Blacks players for runaway tries.
Noah Lolesio – who improved his kicking from 2/7 last week to 3/4 – threw a bullet to Rieko Ioane, who opened the tryscoring by running 70m unchallenged. Lolesio made amends with a kick wide to Kellaway, who danced past McKenzie to score.
Dave Rennie’s desired physical contest was on view: Korobiete laid out Dalton Papalii in one of several hits that had the crowd gasping. However, sloppiness undid the Wallabies again, with Lachlan Swinton stripped by Mo’unga during another Australian attack.
Five passes and 15 seconds later, Brodie Retallick had the ball over the try line as the All Blacks engine started to purr.
Brute All Blacks strength saw Savea score on 31 minutes, Mo’unga’s conversion pushing the score to 21-8 and giving the Wallabies a mountain to climb. They weren’t deterred, with the impressive McDermott going over after a string of messy scrums right on the All Blacks tryline to reduce the deficit to six points.
The battle to influence referee Brendon Pickerill was almost as fierce as the actual contest.
Sam Whitelock complained to Pickerall of the Wallabies claiming territory and Michael Hooper said “I want a yellow card” for persistent defensive infringements. Hooper got his wish when Savea was binned shortly after, but they couldn’t cash in.
Quick thinking from Aaron Smith – one of the best afield – released Codie Taylor to score and the All Blacks didn’t look back. Sevu Reece claimed Matt To’ouma’s pass for a second intercept runaway try, and soon enough, the contest was over.
Taylor claimed a double and Will Jordan continued his fine try-scoring form as New Zealand hit 50 points. Kellaway’s consolation did little to spare Australian blushes, as Havili ran in to complete the rout.