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New Zealand bounce back and thump Australia

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New Zealand’s All Blacks recovered from last week’s loss by beating Australia 41-13 at Eden Park to retain the Bledisloe Cup in Auckland.

All Black captain Richie McCaw became Rugby Union’s most capped player in the match winning his 142nd cap overtaking Brian O’Driscoll who won 141 caps for Ireland.

The All Blacks have now gone 38 matches on New Zealand soil without suffering a loss. At Eden Park the All Blacks are unbeaten in 34 matches.

The result means that New Zealand will retain the Bledisloe Cup for a 13th straight year.

Australia made a strong start dominating the possession and territory statistics before taking the lead with a penalty from Quade Cooper.

Dan Carter levelled the scores with a penalty before All Black hooker Dane Coles out-paced the Wallaby backs in a race for the line to score the opening try.

The All Blacks took a 13-6 lead into half time and in the second half they ran in a further four tries – two from Ma’a Nonu whilst keeping the Wallabies scoreless until the 76th minute when Israel Folau scored Australia’s only try.

The turning point in the match was when New Zealand were awarded a penalty try from Quade Cooper high tackle on Aaron Smith which also saw Cooper in the sin bin and whilst he was off the All Blacks opened the try scoring floodgates.

The All Blacks scored five tries with Dane Coles, Ma’a Nonu (twice) and Conrad Smith crossing the line along with the penalty try while Dan Carter was on song with his boot landing all five conversions and two penalties.

The Wallabies, who have scored at least two tries in their past nine Tests, were limited to one late touchdown by Israel Folau and two Cooper penalties.

The sense of urgency in the All Blacks’ play was fitting for the farewell appearance in New Zealand by six of their elder statesmen — Richie McCaw, in his record-setting 142nd Test, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock.

The All Blacks were jittery at the start with hurried passes going to no one in particular and their desperation to get an early ascendancy resulted in three penalties in the opening 10 minutes.

One within kicking range was easily turned into points by Cooper to get the Wallabies on the board first.

But when the All Blacks settled they piled on 13 points through the middle stages of the first half.

Carter landed two penalties and played a central role in the All Blacks’ first try, an end-to-end move that started with a turnover by Sam Whitelock.

The All Blacks elected to counter-attack from inside their 22 with Carter stepping through two defenders before sending hooker Dane Coles on a 40-metre run to the line.

Cooper came back with a second penalty for the Wallabies as they went into the break with the All Blacks ahead 13-6.

The deficit forced Wallabies coach Michael Cheika into action during the break.

Wycliff Palu and Will Skelton, who he started with to counter the All Blacks’ onslaught, were replaced by the more mobile David Pocock and Dean Mumm.

But it did little to stem the All Blacks’ tide with Ben Smith and Nehe Milner-Skudder combining to put Aaron Smith on a run to the line where he was felled three metres short by Cooper.

Referee Nigel Owens had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try and sending Cooper to the sin-bin.

Milner-Skudder was again in the action to set up Ma’a Nonu’s first try and a Nonu pass then put Conrad Smith over as the All Blacks scored three tries in quick succession before Nonu scored his second with 15 minutes to go.

Folau scored the Wallabies’ sole try when he intercepted an All Blacks’ crosskick inside his own half and raced 60 metres to the line.

Not only did the All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup, contested annually between the trans-Tasman rivals, but they also kept alive their formidable record at Eden Park where they have won 34 consecutive Tests since 1994.

Australia have not won there in their last 16 attempts since 1986.

Final Score New Zealand 41 (13) Australia 13 (6)

Scorers

New Zealand
Tries – Coles, Penalty, Nonu 2, Smith
Pen – Carter 2
Con – Carter 5
Drop –
Cards –

Australia
Tries – I.Folau
Pen – Cooper 2
Con – N.White
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nigel Owens (WAL)

Teams

New Zealand

Ben Smith; Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea; Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Victor Vito; Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Nepo Laulala, Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara, Colin Slade, Malakai Fekitoa.

Australia

Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Henry Speight; Quade Cooper, Nic White; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; James Horwill, Will Skelton; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (capt), Scott Sio.

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Dean Mumm, Kane Douglas, David Pocock, Matt Giteau, Kurtley Beale.

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