Rugby Championship

All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup

2013-08-24 11:24
Ben Smith (Gallo Images)
Wellington - The All Blacks inflicted another severe defeat on Australia when they won their Rugby Championship rematch 27-16 at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

The margin was not as great as the 47-29 hiding inflicted a week ago in Sydney, but the comprehensive manner in which they dominated much of the game was most familiar.

The two tries to one second Test victory also means the All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup, contested annually between the two countries, for an 11th successive year.

Australian hopes that the appointment of Ewen McKenzie as coach signalled the dawn of a new era flickered momentarily in the opening exchanges of both halves but outside that the Black machine was rarely bettered.

Ben Smith, who bagged three tries a week ago added two more while debutant flyhalf Tom Taylor landed a conversion and three penalties.

The Wallabies had their chances, particularly when they dominated the first quarter, but they were unable to convert territory into tries and were forced again to rely on the boot of Christian Lealiifano to supply 11 of their points from a conversion and three penalties.

Israel Folau scored a late try when he intercepted a wild pass from Ma'a Nonu and ran 80 metres to score under the posts.

The All Blacks still had lineout problems, although it was more solid than a week ago, and conceded too many turnovers for their own liking.

But they commanded the scrums and created havoc in the Wallabies defence when they switched on their fast-paced game.

The Wallabies revised tactic of swapping an expansive running game for the boot of Matt Toomua to keep them at the right end of the field failed to put enough pressure on the All Blacks.

The Wallabies made an ideal start, drawing first blood with the tireless Michael Hooper winning turnovers and leading them deep into All Blacks territory where Leali'ifano slotted a handy penalty.

Another Hooper steal in the 20th minute led to Lealiifano carving through the All Blacks and in a repeat scenario the Wallabies won a penalty on the New Zealand line which the inside centre converted.

Down 6-0, the All Blacks had had enough, immediately unleashing their renowned counter-attacking skills to turn a misdirected Wallaby clearing kick into a try by Ben Smith off a 40 metre movement.

Taylor, who missed his first penalty shot at goal, made no mistake with the conversion, followed it with a penalty and as his confidence grew he attempted a 53-metre penalty which fell just under the bar.

On the stroke of half-time, the Wallabies were punished again with heavyweight siderower Steven Luatua crashing through an ineffectual dense for the All Blacks to put Ben Smith over for his second try and to turn 15-6 ahead.

The Wallabies launched into the second half with the same venom that they started the game but despite hammering away at the All Blacks line they were unable to breach the watertight defence.

Taylor landed three further penalties in the second half and Israel Dagg kicked one while the Australians benefitted from a further penalty by Lealiifano who also converted Folau's try.


All Blacks:
Tries: Ben Smith (2). Conversion: Tom Taylor. Penalties: Taylor (5).

Try: Israel Folau. Conversion: Matt Toomua. Penalties: Toomua (3).


All Blacks

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Charles Piutau.


15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 James O'Connor, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.


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