Sydney - The
world champion All Blacks rebounded spectacularly to down the Wallabies
54-34 and continue the gloom in Australian rugby in their Rugby
Championship opener in Sydney on Saturday.
It was New Zealand's biggest score over Australia, eclipsing their 51-20 win in Auckland three years ago.
While the Wallabies added some respectability to the score after
trailing 54-6 with four tries in the final half-hour, the contest was
finished after the first 50 minutes.
"The first 50 minutes was probably as good rugby as you will see, the
last 30 minutes was probably some of the ugliest rugby," All Blacks
coach Steve Hansen said.
"I think we got a little seduced by the scoreboard and went away from
the fundamentals of what we wanted to do, but I think it's about
concentrating on what we did really well and that first 50 minutes was
New Zealand's inability to put away the British and Irish Lions in
their drawn home series last month had raised doubts over the All
Blacks' era of dominance.
But they roared back in their inimitable fashion, posting an eight tries to four victory.
While the All Blacks stamped their mark early on the Test match it
was another blow to Australian rugby following a woeful Super Rugby
season, where Australian teams lost all their 26 games to New Zealand
Another low was that the game was played before the smallest Bledisloe Cup Test crowd at Sydney's Olympic stadium of 54,846.
"It was pretty plain to see that our defence wasn't good enough at all," Wallabies coach Michael Cheika told reporters.
"The adherence to the way we wanted to defend plus the tackling in
itself has got to be better. That first part of the game is not at the
level that you can be at all."
The All Blacks demoralised the tackle-shy Wallabies with a six-try
opening half blitz to have the game wrapped up by half-time after a 40-6
They extended that to 54-6 after 48 minutes before the Australians
scored four tries of their own to remove the threat of their heaviest
losing margin of 37 points (43-6) against New Zealand in 1996.
The All Blacks look set to retain the Bledisloe Cup for a 15th consecutive year in Dunedin next weekend.
Blindside flanker Liam
Squire scored New Zealand's first try in the 10th minute and went in
again when left-winger Rieko Ioane got on the outside of floundering
Israel Folau to score.
Ioane was over again minutes later when Michael Hooper's pass went astray and Ryan Crotty sent Ioane racing away.
The Wallabies defence was shredded again and Crotty scored an easy
try near the posts after Beauden Barrett handled twice in the lead-up.
The New Zealanders claimed their fifth try just before half-time when Sonny Bill Williams crashed over.
They made a mockery of the threadbare Australian defence with a sixth
try off a rehearsed training ground move for centre Crotty's try double
off a scrum win deep inside Wallabies' territory.
Barrett's conversion gave the All Blacks an unassailable lead at half-time.
It got no better with fullback Damian McKenzie scoring his first Test
try three minutes after the resumption, and winger Ben Smith's try
hoisted the All Blacks to their highest ever score against the Wallabies
with still 30 minutes left in an embarrassingly one-sided Test.
Debutant wing Curtis Rona finally crossed for Australia's first try
after 52 minutes and further tries to replacement Tevita Kuridrani and a
runaway effort from Kurtley Beale gave the home supporters something to
Folau went over for Australia's fourth try 11 minutes from the end.
The All Blacks continue their domination of the Wallabies, losing only three of their last 30 encounters.
Tries: Curtis Rona, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau
Conversions: Bernard Foley (4)
Penalties: Foley (2)
Tries: Liam Squire, Rieko Ioane (2), Ryan Crotty (2), Sonny Bill Williams, Damian McKenzie, Ben Smith
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (7)
15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Tevita Kuridrani
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown