All Blacks blitz Wallabies to secure record victory over Australia

Liam Napier, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 1 Nov 2020, 12:02AM

All Blacks blitz Wallabies to secure record victory over Australia

Liam Napier, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 1 Nov 2020, 12:02AM

Lock away the Bledisloe Cup and throw away the key for an 18th straight year. With a first-half performance of devastating dominance, and the largest winning margin against Australia, the All Blacks embarrassed the Wallabies in Sydney to secure the first silverware of Ian Foster's tenure.

After opening the door with the first-up draw in Wellington, the All Blacks have subsequently slammed the Wallabies' fingers in the hinge in the next two tests to deliver Australian rugby a brutal reality check.

It's one thing to lose at Eden Park, where the Wallabies last won in 1986. It's another to be spanked on home soil. Dave Rennie now needs to start from scratch and rebuild confidence all over again before facing the All Blacks in a fourth straight test in Brisbane next week.

What a daunting prospect that now appears.

The All Blacks will take pride in the way their defensive line speed pressured the Wallabies into mistakes from the outset; their work at the breakdown and their strong set piece which allowed Richie Mo'unga to produce his finest performance in a black jersey, with a personal haul of 23 points.

The main concern will be for All Blacks captain Sam Cane, who left the field in the 68th minute after copping a Harry Wilson shoulder to the head which left him dazed and flexing his neck.

With cross-field kicks, dancing feet, dummies and two tries, Mo'unga picked apart the Wallabies on the back of the patient platform laid by the pack.

Four first-half tries and a 26-0 lead could have been much worse for the Wallabies, with Dane Coles and Caleb Clarke denied further strikes, in front of a disappointing 26,000 turnout.

Missing experienced figures James O'Connor and Matt Toomua through injuries, Rennie handed New Zealand-born Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio his test debut but the 20-year-old endured a difficult evening with defensive blunders and kicking the ball dead from a penalty overshadowing his side's sole try after halftime.

As has become customary in the battle for the Bledisloe, the Wallabies fired plenty of shots off the field but they were then missing in action when the whistle sounded.

Defensively the Wallabies were poor and they again committed 21 turnovers and 13 handling errors. Such inaccuracies will always be punished by the All Blacks.

Wallabies wing Filipo Daugunu pronounced this week he "can't wait to hit" Clarke. Five minutes in, Daugunu couldn't wait for Clarke to touch the ground after taking a high ball and copped a yellow card for his troubles.

Jordie Barrett, ruled to have led with his forearm while in possession, followed Daugunu to the bin soon after but his absence did little to stop the All Blacks onslaught.

The All Blacks found regular success peppering the blindside and using the maul as a platform to launch their attack. This is where Mo'unga easily jinked his way past Wallabies hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and through Lolesio to claim his first try.

Mo'unga's second try will please Foster in that it was a nod to the ploy of the dual playmaker partnership, with Beauden Barrett laying on a perfect chip to create the break.

While the All Blacks didn't have the same relentlessness about their work in the second spell, as the Wallabies attempted to inject some respectability into the scoreline, two late strikes from Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett sealed the crushing defeat.

Hoskins Sotutu, on test debut, delivered a brilliant pass off the back of the scrum to send Blues teammate Ioane in at the corner.

The triumphant mood was dampened, somewhat, by a late yellow card to Shannon Frizell for a high shot.

But there is no mistaking the emphatic nature of this result, and the pleasure the All Blacks will take in retaining the coveted Bledisloe.

On the other side of the fence Rennie is widely recognised as a superb coach. This result, however, exposed the reality of Australian rugby's limited depth.

Test ready prospects cannot be manufactured overnight.

All Blacks 43 (Richie Mo'unga 2, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Dane Coles, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett tries; Mo'unga 5 cons, pen)

Wallabies 7 (Noah Lolesio try)

HT: 26-0