Rugby-Championship

Rampant Wallabies wallop sorry All Blacks

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Australia upset New Zealand 47-26 in a pulsating but controversial Rugby Championship Test at Optus Stadium, Perth.

The record crowd for a sporting event in Western Australia (61,241) watched a rampant Wallabies rack up a record score, putting a lacklustre All Blacks to the sword.

Michael Cheika’s men scored six tries to four as they romped to a famous Bledisloe Cup victory.

The win is the Wallabies’ first in seven Test matches against the Kiwis and the first time the Aussies have won back-to-back Tests since 2016.

The final score is the most points the All Blacks have ever conceded in a Test match, too.

The win puts Australia top of the truncated Rugby Championship log, a point ahead of South Africa, who play Argentina in Salta, later.

The Australians will be crowned champions if the Springboks lose in South America.

Reece Hodge grabbed a brace, while Lukhan Salakaia-Loto scored a maiden Test-try.

Nic White, Marika Koroibete and Kurtley Beale also crossed for Australia in the second half.

Scott Barrett was controversially red-carded for a dangerous tackle on Michael Hooper in the dying seconds of the first half of a riveting Test.

Playing with 14 men for an entire half was always going to be a battle, even for the All Blacks.

Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett and Ngani Laumape dotted down for the defending champions, but it was not enough.

Rugby Championship Video Highlights: Australia versus New Zealand, Optus Stadium, Perth

Australia led by one at the time of Barrett’s sending off and pulled away after the break, scoring three more tries as the World Champions crumbled.

Tit for tat as Australia start hot, but New Zealand hit back

The Wallabies took a slender four-point lead courtesy Hodge and Christian Lealiifano’s boot into the shed after dominating territory (87%) and possession (81%).

Lealiifano opened the scoring in the seventh-minute before Hodge raced away for the game’s opening try.

The winger combined with James O’Connor – playing his first Test in six years – running 51 metres, untouched.

Lienert-Brown had almost intercepted a wide skip-pass before O’Connor’s magic opened up New Zealand’s backs.

The visitors struggled to get any possession as their hosts controlled the early exchanges.

Kiwis strike a double blow

Down by 10 in as many minutes, things looked bleak for Kieran Reads charges.

However, they struck with their first real attack before scoring twice in quick succession.

It took some inspiration and a bit of luck, something the men in black do not lack.

Michael Hooper could not get back to Jack Goodhue’s well-weighted left-foot grubber.

Hooper jostled with Kieran Read before losing his balance and knocking the ball, backward in-goal for Lienert-Brown to dot down.

The second try was vintage New Zealand.

Dane Coles carried from his half, slipping Allan Alaalatoa’s tackle, to near the 22 before popping inside to Aaron Smith.

Smith stepped inside Hodge with a weaving run before playing Ioane in the corner.

Australian would have been forgiven for thinking that the game was up.

The Kiwi fightback was, instead, a red herring because the Wallabies wiped themselves off and continued to dominate every facet of the game.

Scott Barrett sees Red, changing the course of the contest

Lealiifano sandwiched two more penalties either side of Barrett’s dismissal, giving his team a halftime lead they would not surrender.

Barrett’s red card was controversial, and a massive call by referee Jerome Garces and TMO Jaco Peyper.

The 25-year-old’s tackle was dangerous and to the head, but Hooper was falling over in the tackle, and it did not seem malicious.

The Kiwis, meanwhile, had made four times the amount of tackles (20/26 to 80/100), a stat that told in the second half, especially playing with 14 men for 40 minutes.

Australia pulled away after the interval as New Zealand ran out of gas

Salakaia-Loto, White, Koroibete and Hodge’s tries sealed the deal as the Kiwis wilted.

The Wallabies put their foot on the gas, going up several gears as they put the game to bed.

Cheika’s side continued to enjoy long spells of possession inside the tourist’s half, often passing double-digit phases as the inched towards the whitewash.

Scott Sio thought he had scored, three minutes after the restart, but he was held up.

From the resulting scrum, the Wallabies pushed and pulled the Kiwi defenders around the park before Salakaia-Loto barged over.

Ben Smith jumped the gun, leaving the flanker one-on-one with Richie Mo’unga from two metres, a battle the first-five was never going to win.

Four minutes later, White scored a sensational try in the left-hand corner after a storming run by Samu Kerevi.

Koroibete stole a ball on the edge of a ruck – the first of two that would lead to tries – and popped to Kerevi, in support down the touchline.

Kerevi beat Aaron Smith for pace, bounced Beauden Barrett before slipping Laumape’s despairing cover tackle and offloading to his scrumhalf, who swallow-dived over the chalk to scenes of delirium.

Stunned

The World champions were shell-shocked, and they could do nothing to stop the turn of the tide.

They had overturned a 10-point deficit only to trail by 14, on 50 minutes.

Steve Hansen’s men did fight back, however. They always do.

Tries by Beauden Barrett and Laumape, but the deficit was too significant to overcome, even for the great men.

Barrett, at second receiver, combined with Mo’unga before dancing through three defenders to give his team a chance.

Koroibete was at it again, picking up from the side of an unguarded ruck, two metres out from the opposition;’s goal-line, and scoring under the posts to make it 33-19 at the start of the third quarter.

Hodge claimed his second after some slick handling and quick ball from the breakdown.

Australia, still on cloud nine, was caught napping from the restart.

Read beat O’Connor to the high-ball, knocking the pill back into the on-rushing Laumape, who raced 40 metres untouched to score.

It was in vain, though.

Beale added a late dagger with a glorious angled run from close range.

Cue bedlam.

Final Score: Australia 47 (16) New Zealand 26 (12)

Scorers

Australia
Tries – Hodge (2), Salakaia-Loto, White, Koroibete, Beale
Pen – Lealiifano (3)
Con – Lealiifano (2), Toomua (2)
Drop –
Cards –

New Zealand
Tries – Lienert-Brown, R. Ioane, B. Barrett, Laumape
Pen –
Con – Mo’unga (3)
Drop –
Cards – S. Barrett (Red, 40′)

Match Officials
Referee: Jerome Garces (FFR)
Assistant Ref 1: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
Assistant Ref 2: Shuhei Kubo (JRFU)
TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)

Teams

Australia

15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio.

Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks.

New Zealand

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 George Bridge.

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