The All Blacks beat the Wallabies 37-20 in Yokohama on Saturday to claim a 3-0 Bledisloe Cup series whitewash. SIMON BORCHARDT reports.
It is Australia’s seventh defeat in 13 Tests this year and puts coach Michael Cheika under further pressure ahead of their three-match European tour.
The All Blacks weren’t at their very best in front of 50,000 fans at Nissan Stadium, and it was only when Beauden Barrett scored a try in the 59th minute, to extend the lead to 14, that the result looked assured. But two more tries rounded off what was ultimately another convincing win against their trans-Tasman rivals.
The Wallabies made an encouraging start to this match, with a nine-phase attack that began with a break from Israel Folau – earning his first Test cap at outside centre – and finished with Dane Haylett-Petty losing control of the ball while attempting to ground it in the left-hand corner.
Both teams lost their first lineout throws, but it was the All Blacks who started to dominate possession and their patience paid off when Sonny Bill Williams, playing in his 50th Test, put Liam Squire away for a 10th-minute try.
Kurtley Beale got the Wallabies on the board with a 48m penalty goal at the end of the first quarter, before Barrett slotted a long-range effort of his own.
The All Blacks then struck again in the 36th minute when Kieran Read broke away from a 5m scrum to score and Barrett’s conversion made it 17-3.
The Wallabies had to score next to stay in the game and they did, in the last play of the first half, when Sefa Naivalu dived over in the left-hand corner after a sustained attack. Bernard Foley nailed the conversion.
Australia dominated the opening stage of the second half, with Rob Simmons being held up over the tryline by Barrett after an 11-phase onslaught. But the referee was playing advantage and Foley kicked a penalty goal to reduce the deficit to just four points.
But Barrett kicked his second penalty and then rounded off an excellent set-piece try from a scrum inside their half. It was a killer blow for the Wallabies, who trailed by 14 points with 20 minutes to go.
Australia suffered another setback when replacement hooker Tolu Latu was yellow-carded for pushing Codie Taylor in the face. Shortly after, Folau’s speculative pass was intercepted by Ben Smith, who raced away to score.
To their credit, the Wallabies hit back once restored to their full complement, with Folau cutting back inside to score under the posts. But the All Blacks had the final say when Rieko Ioane went over for his 22nd try in 21 Tests.
All Blacks – Tries: Liam Squire, Kieran Read, Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3). Penalties: Barrett (2).
Wallabies –Tries: Sefa Naivalu, Israel Folau. Conversions: Bernard Foley (2). Penalties: Kurtley Beale, Foley.
All Blacks – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Wallabies – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigani, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Izack Rodda , 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Tom Banks.
Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images