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Scintillating All Blacks thrash Wallabies

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New Zealand opened the 2018 Rugby Championship with a resounding 13-38 victory over Australia at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.

Five second-half tries including a brace by Waisake Naholo secured the bonus-point win for the All Blacks.

Beauden Barrett was superb, involved in several scores while collecting a try and four conversions for 13 points.

Sam Whitelock, winning a turnover in the first minute, was a powerhouse in his 100th Test.

It was a record-setting 33-point second half performance going back to 1931 for most points scored in the second-half by the Kiwis over the Wallabies, which was 25.

Australia dominated most of the first half, leading 6-5 at the break after two penalties by Reece Hodge and Bernard Foley.

But Aaron Smith finished off a sublime counter-attack just before the break to get the World champions on the board.

It sparked a 26-point scoring run for the All Blacks with three second-half tries by Jack Goodhue, the majestical Beauden Barrett and Brodie Rettalick.

It got worse for the Aussies when Israel Folau, a bystander for much of the game, limped off.

Australia’s set-piece imploded, turning the ball over at the lineout, beasted in the scrum and conceding multiple scrum-penalties.

Jack Maddocks scored on debut soon after Rettalick’s score to reduce the deficit to 13, but Naholo’s two-minute brace settled the Test.

Michael Cheika – and the rest of Australia – were looking for another display similar to last October’s 23-18 Bledisloe Cup win.

Australia started the better, dominating possession and territory but they could not find a way through the stout New Zealand defence.

Michael Hooper let his feelings be known to referee Jaco Peyper. The skipper had to settle for the points.

Hodge kicked a long-range penalty in the 11th minute before Foley doubled their lead from close range, 10 minutes later.

New Zealand had their moments, but uncharacteristic handling errors scuppered several opportunities.

The Wallabies’ woes started late in the half; they had already given away scrum penalties and lost two lineouts which kept the Kiwis on the attack.

Wave after wave of All Blacks attacks was kept at bay, but the home side was tiring.

Then a massive scrum from the visiting forwards, after Jermaine Ainsley replaced Sekope Kepu, led to the first try of the game.

Barrett missed the long-range penalty, but New Zealand won the ball back and Ben Smith started the attack that led to the score, slipping Lukhan Tui’s tackle near halfway.

The fullback played Kieran Read, who combined with the dangerous Naholo on the righthand touchline before the No 8 sent Smith away.

Barrett missed again, giving the hosts a halftime lead, but the writing was on the wall.

The second half was sensational from the World Champions.

As is always the case, New Zealand scored before the interval and soon after the restart.

Naholo striped Marika Koroibete and the All Blacks counter-attacked from inside their 22.

The ball was shipped through the hands to Rieko Ioane’s.

His inside ball sent Goodhue away, three minutes into the second stanza.

It was a hammer blow to the Wallabies and they never recovered.

All their heroic defence had come to nought.

They almost scored after a sensational breakout from inside their 22, but handling let them down.

New Zealand did what they do and took full advantage.

Koroibete lost possession and Barrett did his best Lionel Messi, kicking a loose ball forward three times from halfway after the Aussies lost possession.

He was chased all the way by Will Genia but he gathered and scored.

Folau was off and the Wallabies were down to 14 men when Barrett played Rettalick on the short side.

The lock threw a dummy and with nobody home at the back, raced away down the sideline for his fourth Test try.

Australia, from inside their 22, broke with Foley and Kurtley Beale playing a one-two.

Foley sold a dummy and put Maddocks away, halting the Kiwis’ 26-point scoring run.

That was as good as it would get before Naholo drove the dagger.

Barrett, looking up and seeing space behind the Australian back-three, kicked a left foot punt which the winger chased, picked up and crashed over.

Anton Lienert-Brown, a minute later, set up the flyer for his second with an over-the-top flip-pass.

The 27-year-old turned on the jets, speeding through Pete Samu and Maddocks for his eighth try in seven Tests.

Australia versus New Zealand video highlights

Final score: Australia 13 (6) New Zealand 38 (5)

Scorers

Australia
Tries – Maddocks
Pen – Hodge, Foley
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

New Zealand
Tries – A. Smith, Goodhue, B. Barrett, Retallick, Naholo (2)
Pen –
Con – B. Barrett (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
Assistant Ref 1: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
Assistant Ref 2: Luke Pearce (RFU)
TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)

Teams

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Allan Ala’alatoa, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Jack Maddocks.

All Blacks

15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuake, 18 Tim Perry, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown. 

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