The Wallabies have been soundly flogged by the All Blacks 54-34 in Sydney tonight as the visitors put on an attacking master class and ripped the Wallabies defensive line to shreds to rack up eight tries in total with doubles to Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty.
The Wallabies put up some sort of a fight in the second half after trailing 40-6 at the break with some of the bench players putting their hands up for a start next week as the All Blacks put the cue in the rack to reduce the final margin to 20 points.
It was a very physical opening few minutes with the All Blacks showing their hand early by spreading the ball into the wide channels but the Wallabies responded with some big carries from their forwards after some good work out wide from Samu Kerevi and debutante Curtis Rona.
The Wallabies opened the scoring with penalty goal from Bernard Foley inside the opening five minutes after the All Blacks failed to roll away.
It didn’t take long for the All Blacks to hit back with a well worked try of their own debutant Liam Squire down the left wing. Starting with a quick lineout, Damian McKenzie linked with Ryan Crotty in midfield and the Wallabies looked to have it covered but Squire was found unmarked by Reiko Ioane after some quick hands from Brodie Retallick and Kieran Read and Squire set sail for the line untouched. Beauden Barrett’s conversion made it 7-3.
The next Wallabies points come from a scrum penalty with the All Blacks having a few issues on the engagement and Foley landed his second of the match.
But almost right off the restart the All Blacks showed their attacking skills with the Wallabies unable to make their tackles allowing them easy open space. They again targeted the right wing of the Wallabies and a simple miss on Rieko Ioane by Israel Folau proved costly as he dived over in the corner.
Ioane had his second almost immediately following a Wallabies mistake with a pass going astray in midfield that was swopped on by Ryan Crotty who found Ioane and he ran 40 metres to score the All Blacks third try after just a tick over 20 minutes on the clock.
It was looking like another horror show for the Wallabies with the All Blacks chalking up another try as the missed tackle stats started to rack up for the home side. Ryan Crotty was the recipient of some good handling and a dummy from Joe Moody and Retallick as they took advantage of a rattled Wallabies defensive line. Barrett’s conversion had the All Blacks with a point a minute at 26-6.
The Wallabies couldn’t get much going in attack and the number of penalties being given away didn’t help either as the All Blacks found gaps at ease to have the Wallabies on the back foot with the pace of the game too much for them. The weight of pressure was too much as Sonny-Bill Williams crashed over for the fifth try of the half to make it 33-6 and it wasn’t even half time.
The pain continued for the home side right on half time as the All Blacks made easy work of it as Ryan Crotty collected his second try of the match after a simple scrum move five metres out exploited the shaky defensive line. Barrett’s conversion made it 40-6 at the badly needed break.
The second half didn’t start any better for the Wallabies with a turnover on halfway by Michael Hooper as he was stripped in the tackle was punished as Rieko Ioane found room down the left wing and he found McKenzie to chalk up another try.
And the hits just kept coming for the Wallabies with Ben Smith getting in on the try scoring action as nothing was going right for the home side. Barrett’s conversion made the score an eye watering 54-6.
The Wallabies found some life around the 50 minute mark with a scrum five metres out with Curtis Rona scoring on debut off a short pass from Nick Phipps and that was followed by Tevita Kuridrani try to make it 54-20.
The All Blacks cleared the bench with the game seemingly sewn up and a small error near halfway after a good hit from Rona saw Beale swoop on the crumbs and run 50 metres to the line for the Wallabies third try and put some sort of respectability in the scoreline at 54-27.
The Wallabies reduced the gap to 20 with just over ten minutes remaining with the help of the TMO as they ruled a try to Israel Folau after a few looks at whether or not Kuridrani got his hands to the ball in the leadup with a suspect pass from Foley ruled ok by Wayne Barnes.
There was a late flurry of action towards the end of the game as the Wallabies escaped a charged down Foley clearing kick as he got back to ground the ball simultaneously with Barrett and Israel Folau managed to find a bit of space before Ardie Savea turned the ball over as the final whistle went, much to the relief of Wallabies fans.
The Game Changer
It was close at one stage, around 18 minutes, but then the All Blacks put on a clinic after that. Game over.
The G&GR MOTM
Plenty to choose from in the All Blacks side, but Rieko Ioane in a photo finish over 22 others after bagging a double and setting up other.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Rona, Kuridrani, Beale, Folau
Conversions: Foley 4
Penalties: Foley 2
Tries: Squire, Ioane 2, Crotty 2, Williams, McKenzie, B Smith
Conversions: Barrett 7
Photos by Peter Mitchell