The Bledisloe Cup is gone for another year after an All Blacks masterclass saw them run away with a dominant 43-5 win over the Wallabies in Sydney.
It was the Richie Mo’unga show for the visitors as his 2 tries and 23-point haul tore the Wallabies to shreds in a dominant first half to have the game sealed by the 30-minute mark before the All Blacks added two late tries completed the 38-point rout.
While the All Blacks first half was brilliant as they outclassed their opponents in all areas, the Wallabies were their own worst enemy with offloads not going to hand and kicking the ball away when they actually did get the ball with the little possession and territory they had.
It was a tough night for the contingent of Wallabies debutants although Noah Lolesio did score the lone Wallabies try early in the second half on debut.
It will be an interesting week for coach Dave Rennie and the rest of the coaching staff as they try to get their Tri-Nations campaign going when they play the All Blacks again in Brisbane next Saturday night.
With the wet conditions hitting Sydney just before kick-off it was looking like a game for the forwards with the Wallabies resorting to the high kicks early on.
The first one worked well but the second went pear shaped for Filipo Daugunu in just the third minute as got his timing wrong on All Blacks winger Caleb Clark (via a bump from Sam Cane) and a yellow card from referee Ben O’Keeffe for his efforts.
With the extra man advantage, it only took two minutes for the All Blacks to open the scoring with prop Karl Tu’inukuafe spared the blushes of blowing a huge overlap on the left wing to slide over.
The All Blacks then copped a yellow card as Jordie Barrett was ruled to have used his forearm in high contact with Dane Haylett-Petty on attack to join Daugunu on the sideline for ten minutes.
The action continued for the opening stanza for TMO Angus Gardner as he was involved to check on two more potential tries for the All Blacks with the Wallabies barely hanging on, unable to get out of their own half.
In the first incident Gardner overruled a Dane Coles’ try as he dived in ahead of Nic White in the wing from a Mo’unga kick but a closer look showed he wasn’t in control of the ball as he grounded it.
It took a double team effort from Michael Hooper and Marika Koroibete to deny Clarke in the right corner but the Wallabies couldn’t hold out any longer as Mo’unga sliced through the defence of Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Noah Lolesio on the blindside for the second try after 20 minutes.
Nothing seemed to be going right for the Wallabies when they did get their hands on the ball with offloads going to ground in the wet conditions, into touch or straight back to the opposition and kicking the ball away when in a rare attacking position.
The brilliance of the All Blacks was on show off another turnover around their own 22. Beauden Barrett, who didn’t have to do much all night, chipped over the defensive line and Mo’unga collected the ball in midfield to run untouched for the second of his tries to the line for 19-0 lead.
The hits kept on coming for the Wallabies as another high ball turnover was punished by the All Blacks and this time Dane Coles wouldn’t be denied his try off a driving maul to make it 26-0 with only 30 minutes gone.
Somehow, the Wallabies stemmed the bleeding until halftime but it wasn’t pretty viewing as the Wallabies barely fired a shot in the half.
The half time chat from Dave Rennie worked to some degree as the Wallabies were able to score within 2 minutes of the restart.
Jordan Petaia made a strong run to get around Jack Goodhue and also bumped off Mo’unga and from the recycle, debutant Noah Lolesio ran a great line to score and give him some confidence after a tough initiation to Test rugby in the first half.
The Wallabies seemed a bit more settled after that try but they couldn’t get anything going to launch any sort of attacking threat with both sides ringing the changes to get some fresh players on including debuts for Tate McDermott and Fraser McReight and the inclusion of Reece Hodge at 10 taking over from Lolesio.
It took until the 60th minute for the All Blacks to add more points from a Mo’unga penalty to make it 29-5 and with less than 10 minutes remaining they added two more converted tries to Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett off another dropped offload to complete a grim night for the Wallabies.
The Game Changer
The game was over from a Wallabies perspective by the 30 minute mark after 3 tries in 10 minutes with Mo’unga’s double and Dane Coles.
The G&GR MOTM
Richie Mo’unga – Ran the All Blacks backline brilliantly with 91 run metres with the majority of those by half time. 2 tries, 23 points in total and a first half domination was too much for the Wallabies.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Tu’inukuafe, Mo’unga 2, Coles, Ioane, J Barrett
Conversions: Mo’unga 5
3 mins – Daugunu – Yellow
8 mins – J Barrett – Yellow
79 mins – Frizell – Yellow