A sweeping performance in the grand old style of New Zealand rugby torched the Australians in a Test match of superb entertainment at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington yesterday.
The All Blacks, under fearsome pressure after a poor Tri-Nations campaign, looked as though they had broken down and rebuilt their whole strategy, as they overwhelmed the outplayed Wallabies.
It was another cruel return to his native land for the Australia coach, Robbie Deans, whose side was completely out-muscled up front, being smashed aside at the breakdown.
The Wallabies never began to match the intensity of the All Blacks who also enjoyed their best line-out performance of the tournament and kept ball in hand to sustain their pressure. The aimless, downfield kicking, their previous approach, was abandoned. Instead, New Zealand ran hard and straight in possession, sucking in defenders and forcing the Wallabies to make more than 100 tackles. The pressure had to tell and two tries by the All Blacks in the last five minutes confirmed the inevitable.
New Zealand seized a 16-6 lead by half time as they prospered through holding on to the ball, seeking attacking angles and putting runners into space. They also eliminated the errors that had dogged much of their season.
Cory Jane scored their first try, catching a high kick ahead and brushing aside Drew Mitchell's tackle to run in. New Zealand nailed the game down after half-time with some murderously effective forward drives and finally the pressure told. Ma'a Nonu smashed through five tackles to score and Joe Rokocoko added a third in the last minute.
New Zealand: M Muliaina; C Jane (H Gear, 59), I Toeava, M Nonu, J Rokocoko; D Carter, J Cowan (B Leonard, 69); A Woodcock, A Hore (A de Malmanche, 78), N Tialata (J Afoa, 47), B Thorn, T Donnelly (J Eaton, 65), A Thomson (R So'oialo, 73), R McCaw (c), K Read.
Australia: J O'Connor; L Turner, A Ashley-Cooper, B Barnes, D Mitchell; M Giteau, W Genia (L Burgess, 76); B Robinson (P Cowan, 67), T Polota-Nau (S Moore, 49), B Alexander, J Horwill, M Chisholm, R Elsom (W Palu, 62-68), D Pocock, G Smith (c) (W Palu, 68).
Referee: C Joubert (South Africa).Reuse content