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All Blacks set sizeable target for Springboks with big win over Wallabies

By AAP
Ardie Savea. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The All Blacks have mauled Australia to put one hand on the Rugby Championship, belting an ill-disciplined Wallabies 40-14 in Auckland.

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With the Bledisloe Cup already in the bag, Ian Foster’s side made mincemeat of the visitors at Eden Park, threatening a record-breaking defeat at 32-0 with 20 minutes to play.

Late Folau Fainga’a and Jordan Petaia tries spared those blushes, though rarely in their 36 years of Eden Park pain have Australia been further away from victory.

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“Just gutted the way we performed tonight,” Wallabies captain James Slipper said.

“We had a lot of adversity through the championship. The boys stayed really tight, we showed a lot of character at times.

“We wanted to come here and perform.┬áThe ABs were too good tonight clearly.”

Will Jordan, Sam Whitelock, Codie Taylor and Samisoni Taukei’aho touched down for New Zealand, with a first-half penalty try underscoring the Wallabies’ lack of composure in the Auckland cauldron.

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After pleading for discipline from his side, Australia coach Dave Rennie must have been fuming to see one of his forwards in the bin after just 124 seconds.

Jed Holloway, who broke the All Blacks line in the opening minute, was yellow-carded for spear-tackling Dalton Papali’i 60 seconds later, his enthusiasm turning to recklessness.

The Wallabies kept the All Blacks out while undermanned – holding up Ardie Savea over the line – and grew in confidence once parity was restored.

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Marika Koroibete looked fired up, and the Wallabies lingered long in New Zealand’s 22, struggling only to finish.

Frustrated for 21 minutes, Richie Mo’unga put the first points on the board with a short-range penalty for the All Blacks.

Aaron Smith’s bullet passes set Jordan free soon after, the winger surging past a diving Petaia for the first try.

New Zealand’s second was less elegant, with referee Andrew Brace awarding a penalty try and ordering David Poreck i to spend 10 minutes on the sidelines for collapsing the maul.

Still the undermanned Wallabies fought, with Koroibete denied a try for stepping on the line under the watchful eye of touch judge Mathieu Raynal, who as referee broke Australian hearts with a late time-wasting call on Bernard Foley in last week’s 39-37 loss in Melbourne.

Down 17-0 at halftime, the Wallabies defence fell apart after the break.

A fortuitous TMO call brought Whitelock the All Blacks’ third try, with the power of the Kiwi mauls sending Taylor and Taukei’aho over for their fourth and fifth of the night either side of Fainga’a’s face-saver.

Jordan Petaia, on early after a shoulder injury to Lalakai Foketi, scored in the 82nd minute for another consolation.

“We got shaded in all areas,” Rennie confessed, bemoaning 16 penalties and the two yellows.

“We had enough ball down their defensive end … credit to their defence.”

For the All Blacks, makeshift No.12 Jordie Barrett was sensational, while Papali’i made a stunning 19 tackles.

“It’s a loseable game when you play Australia, as you saw last week,” Foster said.

“We were a lot more ruthless how we exposed our edges.”

The result means New Zealand have a strong shot of defending their Rugby Championship title.

The All Blacks need South Africa to win by fewer than 39 points against Argentina on Sunday morning (AEST) to claim the Southern Hemisphere crown.

Australia, with two wins from six in the championship, will lick their wounds before turning their minds to their Northern Hemisphere tour.

– Ben McKay

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