New Zealand’s dominance over Australia at Eden Park has continued, with the All Blacks beating the Wallabies 33-25.
- The All Blacks broke the game open in the second half with three tries in 13 minutes
- The Wallabies scored three consolation tries in the final 12 minutes to bring the margin down to eight points
- The next Bledisloe Cup game will be played again at Eden Park next Saturday
After a tight first half, which at times was controlled by the Wallabies, the All Blacks went into overdrive in the second period, scoring three tries in 13 minutes to take an unassailable lead.
But the Wallabies never threw in the towel, scoring three tries in the final 15 minutes to close the gap and give them confidence heading into the second Test match next Saturday.
Both sides scored four tries, but it was the goal kicking that proved to be the major difference.
New Zealand fly-half Richie Mo’unga kicked three penalties and two of his four conversions, while opposite number Noah Lolesio was successful with only two of his seven attempts.
Goal kicking coupled with a poor start to the second half denied Australia a chance at their first win over the All Blacks at Eden Park since 1986.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper lamented his side’s second-half start, but said the team would take positives out of their strong finish.
We’re finishing well in games, that’s been the trend of our year,” Hooper told Sky Sport NZ.
“We’re just not getting that start right.
“If we can piece a bit more of the game together for the full 80 (minutes) we’ll be even more dangerous.”
The two sides were locked in a midfield battle for the first 35 minutes, with three Mo’unga penalty goals to the one from Lolesio giving the All Blacks a 9-3 lead.
A slick lineout move gave the Wallabies the opening try, when Hunter Paisami collected a ball thrown over the back before breaking the line and handing the ball to debutant winger Andrew Kellaway to score.
That try sparked the All Blacks into life as they scored their first try through Sevu Reece on half-time.
The 16-8 All Blacks lead at the break was extended 10 minutes into the second half when Mo’unga intercepted a wayward pass from Paisami and ran 65 metres to score under the posts.
The All Blacks were then relentless in their attack, pinning the Wallabies at their own end and scoring two more tries through David Havili and Damian McKenzie to take the score to 33-8.
It looked as though the All Blacks would compile a big score but the Wallabies regrouped and turned possession into points.
Tom Banks crossed on 68 minutes after terrific build-up play close to the All Blacks line, then pounced on a grubber kick six minutes later to score again.
Australia continued to finish the better of the two sides scoring through Jordan Uelese from a maul after the siren.
All Blacks skipper Sam Whitelock said his side was disappointed with how they finished the first Test, despite taking a 1-0 lead in the series.
“It just shows how tight these games are. We had the game under control and our discipline let them back into the game,” he said.
The second Test will be played next Saturday, again at Eden Park.