Australia’s Bledisloe Cup pain will last one more year, after the All Blacks secured a 14th-straight series win in a 29-9 victory in Wellington.
There were no more match records broken at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night nor the mountainous margin of the opening Test but the streak that matters most was stretched to 14.
Australia turned up with plenty more intimidation in the tank than they had in Sydney a week ago, led by rookie lock Adam Coleman but once again they were undone by New Zealand’s slick attack, unable to offer anything of their own, going tryless for the first time away from home in 23 matches.
All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett was again among the chief destroyers, an elusive run giving winger Israel Dagg a first-half double and setting the tone for the game.
But once again it was New Zealand’s silky that cost the Wallabies, with debutant Anton Lienert-Brown popping a pass over the top of his teammates to Israel Dagg for the side’s first try in the eighth minute, exploiting a four-man overlap.
Wallabies inside centre Bernard Foley answered four minutes later, slotting the first penalty of the night, though Barrett kicked his own three-pointer two minutes later to keep New Zealand at a seven-point advantage.
The Wallabies’ injury woes continued with Adam Ashley-Cooper lasting just 16 minutes into the match, before coming off for a concussion test, giving Reece Hodge his Wallabies debut.
The Rebels youngster took the challenge in his stride, booting a penalty goal from the halfway line with ease to keep the Wallabies in touch and looked settled in his first Test.
Dagg’s double came just 23 minutes in, with Barrett’s spectacular route through the Australian defence setting up the newfound winger.
Coleman’s aggression counted against him when he was sent to the bin in the 38th minute for a late hit on Ben Smith, with Scott Fardy also exiting the game at the same time.
His desperation couldn’t fix the Wallabies’ lineout issues, with Australia losing four against their own throw, a concern that only seems to be growing with each passing week.
By half-time, the Wallabies had already missed 17 tackles and made 28 overall, while the All Blacks had stuck 42 and missed just three.
When full-time blew, their missed tackle count had risen to 30, to New Zealand’s eight.
Will Genia again provided some positives for the Wallabies, snuffing out an All Blacks scoring chance with a desperate lunge on to the ball, and creating attacking spark in the second.
Julian Savea’s confidence received another boost, with the winger finishing off an attacking chain and beating his defenders into the corner in the 44th minute, making Australia’s task that little bit harder.
Sam Cane barged over in the 62nd minute to give the All Blacks their fourth try of the night and seal the victory.
Nick Phipps looked like clinching some very late consolation, but lost the ball on the line.
The Wallabies have a week off matches now, before heading to Brisbane for their first clash with South Africa on September 10.
The final Bledisloe Cup match will be in Auckland on October 22, with yet another mark for the Wallabies to attempt to conquer after nearly 30 winless years at Eden Park.
NEW ZEALAND 29
(Tries: Dagg 2, Savea, Cane Cons: Barrett 3 Pens: Barrett)
(Pens: Foley 2, Hodge )