All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup

Beauden Barrett’s four-try masterclass help New Zealand to a 40-12 victory over Australia at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.

The win made sure the All Blacks claim the Bledisloe Cup for a 16th straight year.

Barrett converted five of the six All Blacks tries to finish with a match haul of 30 points, a New Zealand individual match record against Australia.

The Wallabies, needing a killer attitude after being beaten up in Sydney last week, stayed in the game for the first 38 minutes.

But when they again failed to stem the All Blacks’ trademark surge either side of the halfway mark, they were out of the contest.

Barrett scored just before the break and Joe Moody straight after. In the space of five minutes’ playing time, the All Blacks moved from 7-7 to 21-7 and Australia were out of the contest.

The overwhelming victory means the All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup, which they have held since 2003.

The Wallabies have now lost 22 matches in a row since 2001 in New Zealand and have not won at Eden Park since 1986.

As the All Blacks unleashed their attack in the second half they were too fast and accurate for the Wallabies and it was only a stubborn Australian defence that limited the damage.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had warned in the lead-up to the Test that the biggest problem facing his world-champion side was the mindset to back up from last week’s blowout 38-13 win in Sydney.

That did not appear an issue in a high-octane performance where they ran at every opportunity.

Their two first-half tries were both counter-attack moves from around their own 22-metre mark.

Ben Smith won the aerial battle from an Aaron Smith box kick to launch a run that led to Barrett’s first try.

Smith was again in the action just before half-time, working with Codie Taylor down the right flank before Barrett finished the move with his second try.

After Moody’s try to open the second half, Liam Squire scored and Barrett did twice more.

The black mark for the All Blacks was their scrum, which did not function as well as they would have wanted with tighthead prop Owen Franks celebrating his milestone 100th Test.

The Wallabies’ try came from their confidence in trading shots at goal for scrums as they won three penalties in a row through their revamped front row midway through the first half.

When the All Blacks scrum finally stayed up long enough to be completed, Will Genia scooted around the side for the easiest of tries.

But the All Blacks again had the better of the lineouts, with Australia’s jumping options compromised by their decision to persist with playing Michael Hooper and David Pocock as tearaway loose forwards.

Man of the match: All Blacks had loads of heroes like Ben Smith and Brodie Retallick but in the end, there was only one player who produced an impeccable performance, and who has taken our man of the match. Our choice the mercurial All Blacks Beauden Barrett. He is simply the best.

The Scorers:

For New Zealand: 
Tries: B.Barrett 4, Moody, Squire,
Cons: B. Barrett 5

For Australia
Tries: Genia, Hodge
Con: Foley

Teams:

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.

Australia: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)