Another second-half surge has seen the All Blacks secure the Bledisloe Cup for another year, with Steve Hansen’s men recording a 40-12 victory at Eden Park.
Beauden Barrett crossed four times and had a fifth try rubbed out in what was a masterful display of attacking rugby.
The five-eighth opened the scoring when he went in untouched in the 12th minute. Halfback Aaron Smith put Barrett through a gaping hole in the Wallaby defence from 20 metres out as the All Blacks struck first.
The Wallabies kept things close in the first half after building pressure and establishing prime field position through an improved scrum. Michael Hooper’s men won three consecutive scrum penalties on the All Black five-metre line before halfback Will Genia touched down off the back to give the Australians their first points.
Outside of Barrett, Ben Smith was a standout for the All Blacks, putting in an impressive shift on the right wing. Smith’s work under the high ball and in counter-attack. A long and weaving carry played a significant role in Barrett’s second try. Smith finished with 121 run metres and picked up a try assist.
After a tightly contested first 40 minutes and the All Blacks holding a 14-7 lead, the game once again opened up after the break. The All Blacks crossed for four tries and outscored the Wallabies 26-5 in a second-half slaughter.
Joe Moody and Liam Squire scored the All Blacks’ third and fourth tries within five minutes of each other shortly after play resumed for the second half. Moody crashed over from close range after a build-up of phases while Squire was put into a hole after a perfectly timed Brodie Retallick short ball. Jordie Barrett came close to scoring the side’s fifth but Bernard Foley dragged the fullback into touch by the bootlaces.
Beauden Barrett finished a pair of long-range tries towards the end of the match – including a dazzling 50-metre solo effort – to bring his total for the night to four. Barrett finished with 30 points after kicking five conversions.
The Wallabies scored their only points of the second half after Bernard Foley slipped through an Aaron Smith tackle following a midfield scrum. After the break Foley found Reece Hodge on his inside who finished over the line.
Star loose forward David Pocock once again impressed for the Wallabies, making good on all 13 of his tackle attempts and winning a pair of turnovers.
Despite the result, the visitors will be happy with the improvement shown at set piece. Michael Cheika’s side won 10 scrums without a loss and lost just two lineouts – a stark contrast to the eight they lost last weekend.
Missed tackles once again were a black mark for the Wallabies, with 42 missed on the night.
The All Blacks will now travel south to host Argentina in Nelson next weekend, while the Wallabies will head home to host the Springboks in Brisbane.
The All Blacks and Wallabies will meet again in Japan for the third Bledisloe Cup Test in October.
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