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All Blacks thrash Australia to close in on Rugby Championship title

New Zealand won on a scoreline of 40-14 in Auckland.

New Zealand's Rieko Ioane is tackled by Australia's Angus Bell and Jake Gordon, right, during the Bledisloe Cup rugby test match between the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
New Zealand's Rieko Ioane is tackled by Australia's Angus Bell and Jake Gordon, right, during the Bledisloe Cup rugby test match between the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
Image: Brett Phibbs

NEW ZEALAND PUT one hand on the Rugby Championship trophy after romping to a 40-14 win over Australia with a bonus-point victory in Auckland on Saturday.

Tries by Will Jordan, Codie Taylor, Sam Whitelock and Samisoni Taukei’aho plus a first-half penalty try at Eden Park kept New Zealand top of the table in the final round of matches.

The All Blacks will retain the Rugby Championship title unless South Africa claim a bonus-point win by a huge margin over Argentina later in Durban.

The hosts earned their third straight win in emphatic style, having been 17-0 ahead at half-time after some ill-discipline from the visitors.

“I’m delighted with the performance, there is always room for improvement, but I loved the attitude,” said All Blacks coach Ian Foster.

“We finished this championship really strong, so in that sense I am pleased with that.

“We have given ourselves a chance at the title.”

The Wallabies saw their horror record at Eden Park extended to 23 straight defeats against New Zealand dating back to 1986.

Australia only had the consolation of converted tries by Folau Fainga’a and Jordan Petaia in front of a sell-out crowd of 47,000.

“Keeping them scoreless for the first 60 minutes was massive,” said New Zealand captain Whitelock.

“The guys defended hard on our line — the effort, the commitment was there.”

- ‘Disappointing outcome’ -

The Wallabies paid dearly for their ill-discipline in the first half. Forwards Jed Holloway and David Porecki were both sent to the sin bin as New Zealand built up a strong lead at the break.

“Playing with 13 men, through two yellow cards, in the first half really put us on the back foot,” said Australia captain James Slipper.

“That’s a very disappointing outcome for us.

“We had a lot of confidence coming here, but the All Blacks were too good, clearly.”

Australia had Holloway yellow-carded after just two minutes for a tip tackle on All Blacks flanker Dalton Papali’i.

Yet the All Blacks failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage and only broke the deadlock when Richie Mo’unga converted a penalty after 22 minutes.

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Jordan then grabbed his 21st try in as many Tests with a moment of magic.

The fleet-footed winger hit the line at pace and rode the despairing tackle of Petaia by hitting the gas to cross.

Mo’unga added the conversion and persistent All Blacks pressure caused the Australian defence to buckle again soon after.

Wallabies hooker Porecki was shown a yellow card for dragging down a maul on their line and Irish referee Andrew Brace awarded a penalty try to make it 17-0 at half-time.

New Zealand skipper Whitelock was awarded a close-range converted try, even though replays suggested he was prevented from grounding the ball.

Mo’unga converted a penalty to put New Zealand 27-0 up before Taylor was shunted over for the fourth try, which sealed the bonus-point win.

Australia conjured a try from nothing for Fainga’a before the All Blacks threw bodies into a driving maul and Taukei’aho touched down off the back to put the hosts 37-7 up.

Mo’unga, who was near-flawless with the boot all night, added a late penalty before Petaia crossed for Australia’s second try just before the whistle.

– © AFP 2022

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