The All Blacks scored six tries to thump the Wallabies 38-21 in Perth on Sunday despite conceding a red card in the Rugby Championship clash.
In a Test that doubled as the final Bledisloe Cup match of the year, the All Blacks completed a clean sweep of the Wallabies in the three-Test series and, in the Rugby Championship, overhauled the Springboks into first place on the standings by a single log point.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster lauded his team’s attitude. Despite missing the likes of Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Sam Whitelock and Sam Cane, the All Blacks held the Wallabies scoreless in a lively first half and kept their foot on the gas throughout.
At a sun-drenched Optus Stadium, in the first daytime Bledisloe Cup match in Australia since 1996, the All Blacks ran in six-to-three tries in front of a near-capacity crowd of 52,724.
“We were really committed on the park,” Foster told reporters. “The attitude and the commitment to run and scramble I thought was outstanding.”
It kick-started a lengthy stretch away from home for the All Blacks, who are set to be on the road for the next 14 weeks.
They will play in the remainder of the Rugby Championship, which this match counted towards, in Australia’s Queensland state before overseas stints in the US and Europe.
“It’s a tour like no other and to start off with 3-0 (in the Bledisloe Cup) is special and we were open about achieving that,” Foster said.
The Wallabies, meanwhile, were left lamenting an error-strewn performance and an inability to capitalise on the All Blacks being shorthanded for 20 minutes after fullback Jordie Barrett was red-carded in a physical first half.
“We had chances to put heat on them on the scoreboard but we didn’t turn pressure into points,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said.
Refreshed and rested after a long layoff in Perth, the Wallabies had been quietly confident of causing an upset. They started aggressively but it was to no avail as the visitors gradually gained ascendency.
Their dominance was rewarded in the 18th minute when Jordie Barrett finished off a spectacular attack started by a brilliant grubber kick from his brother Beauden Barrett.
The home side’s woes deepened when Noah Lolesio missed a sitter of a penalty to extend the Wallabies’ scoring drought.
The home side received a much-needed boost when Jordie Barrett was red-carded in the 28th minute for dangerous play after his boot hit Marika Koroibete’s face.
But the shorthanded All Blacks stretched their advantage further when David Havili crossed over after a powerful driving maul.
The Wallabies’ task of a comeback after half-time against a reloaded All Blacks appeared forlorn.
Folau Fainga’a, however, attempted to defy the odds when he crossed over in the 50th minute to finally provide cheers for the home faithful.
But Will Jordan responded immediately and the result was effectively sealed when Hivili ran 80 metres for an intercept try.
© Agence France-Presse