All Blacks crush the Wallabies to retain Bledisloe Cup

Press Association Sport 14:51 17/08/2019
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New Zealand bounced back from their record Test defeat to thrash Australia 36-0 in Auckland.

Australia had beaten New Zealand 47-26 in Perth seven days earlier, the heaviest defeat in the All Blacks’ 583-Test history.

But it was a different story at Eden Park as outside-half Richie Mo’unga scored 14 points and New Zealand retained the Bledisloe Cup.

Mo’unga was among the All Blacks’ five try-scorers but, with the World Cup opener against South Africa just five weeks away, provided cause for concern when he suffered a heavy tackle from Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and left the action nursing his right shoulder.

Mo’unga had opened the scoring with a fourth-minute penalty before opposite number Christian Lealiifano missed two kicks, the first one striking an upright.

Lealiifano’s profligacy was to prove costly when Reece Hodge spilt a Kurtley Beale pass after 29 minutes and Mo’unga produced a smart pick up to burst over from 60 metres.

New Zealand went further ahead three minutes later as Beauden Barrett instigated a devastating counter-attack.

George Bridge was on hand to break between two defenders and freed Aaron Smith for his 17th Test try, with Mo’unga adding the extras again.

The All Blacks were reduced to 14 men when Dane Coles grabbed scrum-half Nic White around the neck and threw him to the ground judo-style.

But New Zealand still dominated – their seven-man scrum overpowered Australia’s eight-strong pack – and Sonny Bill Williams barrelled over six minutes after the restart.

Sevu Reece extended the lead with his first Test try, winning the race to his own kick for Barrett to convert before fellow winger Bridge wrapped up an emphatic win in the closing stages.

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