Beauden Barrett scored four tries as the All Blacks romped to a 40-12 win over the Wallabies in Auckland on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
After delivering a rousing rendition of the Kapa o Pango haka, New Zealand went on to record their 18th straight win over Australia at Eden Park. The result sees the All Blacks retaining the Bledisloe Cup for another year, and strengthening their claim for yet another Rugby Championship title.
What more could the Wallabies have done to prevent this outcome? Not much.
The visitors competed well at the breakdown in the first half, with No 8 David Pocock doing his best to slow and stifle the All Blacks’ supply of attacking ball. The Wallabies proved a point at the scrum, turning down a series of kickable penalties in favour of a set piece, and then scoring eventually through scrumhalf Will Genia.
Ultimately, the Wallabies’ inferior physicality and composure let them down before and after half-time. Barrett crossed for his second try of the match and then converted to ensure that his side went to the break with a 14-7 lead.
Predictably, the All Blacks shifted gear in the second stanza. Prop Joe Moody and flanker Liam Squire crashed over in quick succession to extend the hosts’ advantage to 21 points.
A breakaway by Bernard Foley culminated in a try for Reece Hodge. That score gave the Wallabies hope of reducing the deficit and salvaging a losing bonus point, if not hope of winning the game.
Then Barrett produced a piece of magic that sealed the result – and possibly the debate in New Zealand regarding his right to the No 10 jersey. After making a break on halfway, Barrett backed himself to race between several defenders and score under the posts.
Brodie Retallick found his flyhalf on the right wing, and Barrett slid over the line for what many thought was a record-breaking fourth try. After consulting the TMO, however, referee Wayne Barnes ruled that there was a knock-on in the buildup to the try.
He wouldn’t be denied, though. The All Blacks broke from their own 22 two minutes later, and Barrett finished the movement in the same spot as before.
With the latter score, Barrett became the first All Black to score four tries against the Wallabies in a Test. His five-from-six goal-kicking effort saw him finish the evening with an individual tally of 30 points.
The All Blacks have accumulated 10 log points after two matches. Their next two games will be staged in New Zealand, and so one would expect them to extend their lead at the top of the Rugby Championship table in the next few weeks.
All Blacks – Tries: Beauden Barrett (4), Joe Moody, Liam Squire. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (5).
Wallabies – Tries: Will Genia, Reece Hodge. Conversion: Bernard Foley.
All Blacks – 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuake, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Wallabies – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalato, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Folau Faingaa, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks.
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images