Barrett-led All Blacks thump Wallabies

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

For the 16th straight year, the Bledisloe Cup isn't going anywhere.

The All Blacks - led by a four try, 30 point Beauden Barrett masterclass - were too clean, too quick and overall, far too good for a Wallabies side that gave this 40-12 loss everything they had.

Unfortunately, everything the Australians have is no where near good enough to beat this New Zealand outfit.

Just like the corresponding match this time last week, the Wallabies were a chance at half-time.

Barrett had a double by that point but Will Genia had crossed, the attack looked more threatening and the scrum transformed from a liability into a weapon in the space of a week.

And while the second half wasn't quite the Sydney capitulation which left Wallabies fans demoralised, it wasn't far off.

It was, in fact, every bit as comprehensive for the world champs.

Their counter attack was incredibly clean, their composure on either side of the ball remarkable and they simply chipped away at the Wallabies, waiting for the cracks to appear.

And appear they did.

The Australian defence held firm until half time but panic set in during the second half and like a shark sniffing blood in the water - New Zealand pounced.

It took just 13 minutes for the home side to draw first blood - a huge hole created by Izack Rodda watching the ball, not the man, opening the Australian defence up.

Barrett took full advantage and after he scored under the posts the confidence with which the Kiwis were playing with was on show for all to see as he drop kicked the conversion rather than waiting for the tee.

It was a warning shot but the Wallabies took 20 minutes to address the ill-discipline which killed any momentum they had built with ball in hand.

No less than three times in the opening quarter did the Australians gift the home side a penalty as they entered the final third but once they rid the nervous energy from their systems the attack started to take shape.

Will Genia crossed in the first half to level the scores. Photo: WalmsleyThe Bernard Foley-Kurtley Beale playmaking duo was having the desired effect but it was some superb, intuitive counter attacking which nabbed the field position for Will Genia's try.

Jack Maddocks was the man to spark the raid with a deft grubber 60 out from the Kiwi line, Marika Koroibete cleaning the ball up and popping it inside to Beale.

But the star centre was mowed down by Barrett and his pop pass fell into the arms of a scrambling Aaron Smith.

The Wallabies piled into the ensuing breakdown and won the ball back, New Zealand giving away a penalty five out from their own line.

It was at this point, just over 25 minutes into the match, where Scott Sio started to go to work on 100 Test hero Owen Franks.

He forced two scrum penalties but Michael Hooper refused to take points - another solid scrum creating the space for Genia to slide over.

It was 7-all with 10 to play but the dreaded pre half time try soon followed, Ben Smith taking turnover ball from the best Australian attacking set of the night and running 70 metres the other way, Maddocks making the desperate cover tackle.

But the Barrett brothers were queuing up for the ball as Smith went to ground and moments later Beauden had a double.Ben Smith and the All Blacks carved the Aussies up in counterattack. Photo: WalmsleyIt was time for the real test.

The Wallabies were in a better position this time last week but capitulated in the second half.

Could they stop that from happening this time around?

When Joe Moody crossed in the 44th minute Australian fans would have been fearing the very worst.

Those fears were justified when Liam Squire loped through the line to extend the lead to 28-7 - taking the total points scored 10 minutes either side of half time to 21.

The Australians, to their credit, responded.

Foley split the line and Hodge worked mighty hard to support, duly rewarded when the flyhalf popped the ball to his right to send the centre over untouched.

But when Rob Simmons missed Barrett from 50 out and he beat Maddocks in a foot race to the line, it was all over.

The Bledisloe Cup isn't going anywhere and based on the past fortnight, it won't be leaving New Zealand for a very long time.


All Blacks 40

Tries: B Barrett 4, Moody, Squire

Cons: B Barrett 5

Wallabies 12

Tries: Genia, Hodge

Cons: Foley