Power show by All Blacks

New Zealand 30 Australia 13
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The Independent Online
If There were any lingering doubts about who are the best team in the world then the All Blacks removed all question marks with a rampaging success over Australia yesterday.

The Wallabies, fresh from a 2-0 series win over the Five Nations champions France, had no answer to New Zealand's powerful scrum, superior handling skills and ferocious attack. "Australia were beaten by a better team," the Australian coach Greg Smith said. "The All Blacks are the best team in the world."

The Test began with great intensity and only penalties were traded inside the first 20 minutes. But Australia soon began to buckle under the pressure applied by the All Black scrum, which set up a platform for the loose forwards to run amok. New Zealand's flanker Josh Kronfeld scored the first try after the wing, Jeff Wilson, burst down the sideline and outpaced Joe Roff to set up the opportunity. They could not be denied another in the 30th minute when their scrum pushed over the line for the No 8, Zinzan Brooke, to fall on the ball.

Two minutes from half-time Kronfeld again linked on to the end of a rampaging passage of play to cross for his second try. It was a bleak opening period for the Wallabies, who hardly touched the ball in the first half, and they went into the break trailing 23-3.

Australia began the second spell with renewed vigour and determination, but could not capitalise on their chances in the face of a rock-solid All Black defence. They suffered a crushing blow mid-way through the second half when the centre, Pat Howard, fell badly in a heavy tackle and was taken off the field on a stretcher with an ankle injury. That allowed the All Blacks to regain the upper hand and they remained encamped on the Australian goal-line until Brooke, in his 50th Test, drove over for his second try. Australia finally touched down for the first time with 10 minutes left, when the outside-half, Tim Horan, dummied to waltz across the line.

Jack Rowell, whose England side face the Wallabies on Saturday, was impressed by Australia's commitment but saw weaknesses to exploit. "Australia's scrummaging seemed a little awry, but in the second half they looked up there with the best in the world," he said.

Australia: S Larkham; B Tune, D Herbert, P Howard (J Holbeck, 54), J Roff; T Horan, G Gregan; R Harry, M Caputo, E McKenzie, J Eales (capt), M Cockbain, B Robinson, T Coker, G Wilson.

New Zealand: C Cullen; J Wilson, F Bunce, L Stensness, T Umaga; C Spencer, J Marshall; C Dowd, S Fitzpatrick (capt), O Brown, I Jones, R Brooke, T Randell, Z Brooke, J Kronfeld.