Australia’s Bledisloe Cup drought will continue through to 2022, with the Wallabies suffering a record defeat to their trans-Tasman rivals.
Australia’s Bledisloe Cup drought will continue through to 2022, with the Wallabies suffering a record 57-22 defeat to the All Blacks on Saturday evening to give New Zealand an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
Dave Rennie’s men were utterly outclassed at Eden Park, a venue where New Zealand has not lost since 1994.
Despite trailing by just six points at half-time, the Wallabies capitulated in the second half to suffer yet another defeat to their powerhouse trans-Tasman rivals.
The Wallabies got off to a horror start in Auckland, with Rieko Ioane intercepting Noah Lolesio’s cutout pass and sprinting 80 metres to score in the fifth minute.
But the Aussies quickly returned serve, with Lolesio expertly kicking towards Andrew Kellaway on the right wing, who stepped around the defender to score near the corner post.
The All Blacks then showed their class with a masterful team try in the 25th minute, set up by an Akira Ioane linebreak.
Lolesio reduced the deficit with a penalty kick, but Ardie Savea dived over soon after to give New Zealand a 13-point lead in the 36th minute.
But the Wallabies clinched a much-needed try moments before the half-time siren, with halfback Tate McDermott scoring between the posts to briefly silence the home crowd.
The referee showed Savea a yellow card early in the second half following a string of ruck infringements, leaving the All Blacks with 14 men.
But the Australians were unable to capitalise on the one-player advantage, with New Zealand hooker Codie Taylor scoring in the 46th minute.
Damian McKenzie slotted a 58-metre penalty kick soon after, and the All Blacks rubbed salt into the wounds by scoring another intercept try in the 55th minute, with Sevu Reece snatching a wayward pass from Matt To’omua.
It was New Zealand’s third intercept try against the Wallabies in seven days.
An All Blacks victory seemed inevitable when Taylor scored his second try of the night in the 61st minute to extend the home side’s lead to 28.
A runway try from Will Jordan pushed New Zealand past the half-century mark, and in the blink of an eye the Australians were suddenly trailing by 35 points with 13 minutes to play.
Kelloway scored a consolation try on the right wing in the 69th minute, but it did little to raise Australia’s spirits.
When David Havili scored New Zealand’s eighth try in overtime, the All Blacks broke the record for most points in a Bledisloe Cup match at Eden Park.
“We didn’t respect the ball. A couple of intercept tries, going a bit out of our shape there a bit,” Wallabies captain Michael Hooper confessed after the loss.
“You play a team like New Zealand and they capitalise and turn nothing into something. We fronted up physically well but didn’t stay in the fight long enough.”
New Zealand has now won the Bledisloe Cup in 19 consecutive years, with Australia last lifting the trophy in 2002.
The Wallabies will next face the All Blacks at Perth Stadium on Saturday, August 28 with kick-off scheduled for 8pm AEST.
Bledisloe II Teams
Wallabies: Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Hunter Paisami, Matt To’omua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Lachie Swinton, Matt Philip, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper
Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Wilson, Nic White, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge
All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Sevu Reece, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock (c), Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett