McCaw helps All Blacks waltz to Bledisloe victory

Australia 13 New Zealand 3

By Peter Bills
Wednesday 15 August 2012 05:12

The All Blacks dominated the Tri-Nations game after the 11th minute by which time, bizarrely, they were 13-0 down. But their superiority was such that they could afford to give Australia that start and then trounce them. Had New Zealand taken only half of the other chances they created, they would have gone close to 50 points.

The New Zealand coach, Graham Henry, will hardly be happy with that statistic. In a tighter contest against better opposition, New Zealand could have paid a heavy price for their profligacy, which was exactly what happened last week against South Africa in Cape Town.

But Australia are currently so poor and short of quality that even their great start was insufficient to control the match. The All Blacks were quicker, more physical and far smarter at the breakdown, with the flanker Richie McCaw proving particularly dominant.

Two penalties by Matt Giteau in the first seven minutes and his conversion of Drew Mitchell's try on his run-on Wallaby debut gave Australia their 13-0 lead. But it quickly became apparent New Zealand were in another class.

They were more powerful at the scrums, too, although their line-out work was again erratic and prone to mistakes, for the second week in a row. New Zealand had pulled back 10 points after 28 minutes, Daniel Carter landing a penalty goal and converting Piri Weepu's try.

Carter finally pulled New Zealand level with his second penalty after 44 minutes and then edged them in front seven minutes later with another goal, before limping off injured.

Ironically, that change of lead briefly inspired Australia's best spell of sustained pressure in the whole game. But they never really threatened to break the All Black defence and when McCaw caught them napping with a drive-over try from a tapped penalty five metres out, the Wallabies were done for. Joe Rokocoko then added an exclamation mark, running in a try from inside the New Zealand 22.

For Australia it was a heavy reverse and the Wallabies' third consecutive Test loss. It also confirmed that the Wallaby cupboard is disturbingly bare, and the side look bereft of leadership and direction. Warriors in gold they may once have been, but Australia currently look like warriors of old.

Australia: D Mitchell; M Gerrard, S Mortlock, M Turinui (C Rathbone, 50), L Tuqiri; M Giteau (E Flatley, 36; Gregan, 77), G Gregan (capt; C Whitaker, 67); B Young, J Paul (B Cannon, 33), A Baxter, D Vickerman, N Sharpe (M Chisholm, 67), J Roe, D Lyons (P Waugh, 55), G Smith.

New Zealand: M Muliaina; R Gear, T Umaga (capt), A Mauger, J Rokocoko; D Carter (L McAlister, 68), P Weepu; T Woodcock, K Mealamu (D Whitcombe, 68), C Hayman (G Somerville, 60), C Jack, A Williams (J Ryan, 77), J Collins, R So'oialo (M Holah, 75), R McCaw.

Referee: T Spreadbury (England).

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