Beauden Barrett became the first man in history to score 30 points against Australia in a Test as the world champion All Blacks waltzed to a 40-12 victory at Eden Park, and in so doing retained the Bledisloe Cup for a scarcely believable 16th year in a row.
The Wallabies kept pace early on and were trailing just 14-7 at half-time, but in the second-half the relentless pace and skills of the All Blacks took its toll as they scored another four tries to run out comfortable victors.
Barrett’s four tries also equaled South Africa’s Jongi Nokwe as the most tries ever scored against Australia in a Test.
Here’s our report card from a one-sided contest in Auckland.
Beauden Barrett: Scarcely believable from a player who many were calling to be dropped after a mixed Super Rugby campaign. The middle Barrett brother was simply unplayable, whether it was running, passing or kicking. Everything good the All Blacks did came from BB and when he felt like he just did it all himself as his four tries attest.
Wallabies spirit: No one can blame the Wallabies for effort. They worked hard right up till the 80th minute, trying to score tries, hold back the All Black wave, keep the score respectable. It is not the effort that can be faulted but the bone headed game plan that is simply trying to out All Black the All Blacks. It is playing ‘All Blacks lite’ rugby and it is never going to work when you come up against the real thing.
All Blacks defence: This was a performance from the world champions that was hard to fault and it begs the question, is this the greatest All Blacks team ever. In attack they were unstoppable – 1099 metres from 142 runs, 13 line breaks, 15 off loads and five phases seven or over. Steve Hansen though is always seeking perfection and will not be happy with the 28 missed tackles, for an 85 per cent tackle success rate.
Wallabies mistakes: If you are going to beat the All Blacks, especially at Eden Park where they have not lost for a quarter of a century, you cannot make mistakes. But the Wallabies missed 37 tackles from a total of 146 – just an 80 per cent tackle rate. They also made 12 handling errors and conceded nine penalties. Hardly mistake free rugby.
12 mins: Ben Smith takes a high kick from Aaron Smith and a half break from Jordie Barrett is completed with the simplest run in from his brother Beauden. Barrett converts his own try. All Blacks 7-0.
27 mins: Wallabies backing their scrum five metres out. Repeated penalties against the All Blacks but no card from referee Wayne Barnes. But from the next scrum Kurtley Beale runs a great decoy and Will Genia darts over himself. Bernard Foley converts. 7-7.
38 minutes: Classic All Blacks. Wallabies deep in attack but Beale spills it. The All Blacks counter-attack rather than kick. They swing it wide where Codie Taylor and Ben Smith combine to take it well down field. Ben Smith is pulled down inches short but Aaron Smith finds Beauden Barrett who dives over. He converts his own try. All Blacks 14-7
Beauden Barrett so overrated 🤥— Tom Shanklin (@TomShanklin) August 25, 2018
61 mins: Ball on the halfway line and not much happening but Beauden Barrett just turns on the jet shoes and races 50 metres to score under the posts. His third of the night which he converts. All Blacks 35-12.
68 mins: A turnover from Retallick in the ABs 22, they go wide straight away and replacement Damian McKenzie sprints away. He finds Ben Smith who finds Beauden Barrett who dives in the corner. He becomes the first ever All Black to score four tries against the Wallabies. Just to show he’s human he misses the conversion. All Blacks lead 40-12.
80 mins: The Wallabies attack but Jack Maddocks is bundled into touch. Full time. All Blacks win 40-12 and retain the Bledisloe Cup.
TACTICAL TURNING POINTS
After the thrashing last weekend in Sydney, Australian captain Michael Hooper said the Wallabies “have a plan” for this Saturday at Eden Park.
Whatever Hooper might profess the Wallabies’ only plan seems to be to try and play like the All Blacks – but they just don’t do it as well.
Australia managed to keep pace with the world champions in the opening period but after the break the relentless tempo of the All Blacks just could not be stopped. Two tries in the first seven minutes of the second-half put it out of reach for the Wallabies.
So the debate will now start: Dan Carter v British Lions Wellington 2005 or Beauden Barrett v Australia 2018??— Keith Quinn (@KeithQuinn88) August 25, 2018
WALLABIES: B –
You cannot fault the Wallabies’ endeavor but although they improved I nearly every facet – and managed tri score two tries to the one in Sydney – they still ended up losing by three points more – 28 to 25 in Sydney.
ALL BLACKS: A –
As good as they were the All Blacks can still be better. They made 17 handling errors and lost three of their own lineouts. Their scrum was also penalized regularly. Hansen will see a lot that can be improved before they Argentina in Nelson in a fortnight.
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