All Blacks hammer Wallabies
September 19, 2009
New Zealand's Cory Jane dives over to score his side's opening try
© Getty Images
New Zealand claimed the runners-up spot in this year's Tri-Nations with a 33-6 victory over Australia at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Tries from Cory Jane, Ma'a Nonu and Joe Rokocoko and 18 points from the boot of fly-half Dan Carter gave the All Blacks a deserved victory with Matt Giteau and Berrick Barnes slotting a penalty and a drop goal respectively for the lacklustre Wallabies.
The defeat extends a woeful record for Australia who have now won just two of the last 14 Bledisloe Cup encounters with their cross-Tasman rivals and this latest reverse was their 10th in a row on New Zealand soil. Victory for the All Blacks prevented an unprecedented third home defeat in a year and ensured they will embark on their end of year tour on a positive note.
All Blacks coach Graham Henry opted to shake things up in the wake of his side's defeat to Tri-Nations champions South Africa last weekend with five new faces, including debutant lock Tom Donnelly and winger Jane, and two further positional changes. In contrast, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans named an unchanged side in the hope his side could repeat the strong showing that accounted for the Springboks in their last outing.
The hosts began strongly displaying a willingness to keep the ball in hand and early pressure forced a penalty from Australia but Carter could only drag his effort wide of the mark. The Wallabies responded well to that opening onslaught and took the lead thanks to a penalty from Giteau after the All Blacks had strayed offside close to their own line.
The visitors continued to stretch the home side's defence soon and gained further reward when the All Blacks were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle. But Giteau was unable to punish them further with his penalty attempt from the touchline sailing wide.
New Zealand persevered with their high tempo approach and a quick tap at a drop out from Carter sparked another sweeping move. Scrambling defence from the Wallabies snuffed out the attack but an intentional knock on allowed Carter to level things up.
An error from Wallabies fullback James O'Connor then handed the All Blacks an attacking lineout but hooker Andrew Hore was unable to find his man. Captain Richie McCaw pounced to reclaim the ball and when Australia's Tatafu Polota-Nau failed to roll away, Carter was able to put his side in front with his second penalty.
The All Blacks' expansive gameplan continued to cause problems for Australia with centre Adam Ashley-Cooper the next to be penalised and Carter turned the screw with his third successful kick of the night.
Barnes reduced the deficit with a drop goal after O'Connor was caught with a high tackle from Toeava, who was sent to the sin-bin as a result. But New Zealand shrugged off that double blow with the first try of the game. A testing kick from fullback Mils Muliaina put O'Connor under pressure and he was out-jumped by Jane who then shrugged off the tackle of Drew Mitchell to cross for his first Test try.
Carter added the extras with the help of the post and some excellent game management from the All Blacks' No.10 ensured they held onto their advantage until the break.
Carter kept the scoreboard ticking over early in the second half with another penalty while the Wallabies continued to labour. In contrast the All Blacks were refreshingly creative with Jane, Rokocoko and Toeava all making eye-catching contributions.
The Wallabies weathered the storm and put several phases together but were unable to unlock the well-regimented All Blacks defence. With a quarter of an hour to go the Wallabies turned down a shot at the posts opting instead to kick for the lineout.
The visitors peppered the All Blacks' line looking for an opening and an incisive run from Barnes took him close but he lost the ball in the tackle and the danger was eventually cleared. Undeterred the Wallabies rallied again but were frustrated by some resolute defence with McCaw often at the heart of proceedings.
The All Blacks sealed the win with a try from Nonu as the game entered the last five minutes. A pass from Carter picked out the strong-running centre who brushed Giteau aside before bursting through the combined tackle of scrum-half Will Genia and O'Connor to touch down. Carter added the conversion but once again needed a little help from the woodwork.
An early tackle from Barnes on All Blacks replacement Rodney So'oialo gifted the hosts another penalty and Carter found touch deep inside the Wallabies' 22 for the lineout. The All Blacks' catch and drive took them over the line but the ball was held up by some desperate defence. From the resulting scrum, the ball was worked wide to Rokocoko who dived over to score in the corner with Carter kicking the conversion with the last kick of the game.
The two sides will meet for the fourth time in Tokyo on October 31 in the final Bledisloe Cup clash of the year.