Wallabies crumble as nightmare run continues
Eden Park remains an impenetrable fortress for New Zealand, with the All Blacks securing another victory in Auckland.
After a promising start to Sunday afternoon's Bledisloe contest, the Wallabies crumbled in the second half to lose 27-7 in front of 46,049 spectators.
A trio of tries immediately after the interval ensured New Zealand's unbeaten record at Eden Park would extend past 26 years.
The Wallabies will now need to win both Rugby Championships matches against New Zealand on home soil to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2003.
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Despite a cluster of missed tackles from the Australians, the first half was closely-contested.
There are also some promising signs for the Wallabies, with their scrum working wonders in the early passages of play.
A few minutes into the match, Australian prop Taniela Tupou sprinted through New Zealand's defensive line, and was taken down inches from the tryline.
But an immediate turnover ensured the score remained 0-0.
After securing a penalty 25 metres out, Richie Mo'unga slotted a simply penalty kick to put the All Blacks on the scoreboard.
As the Wallabies continued to miss tackle, it therefore seemed inevitable when New Zealand halfback Aaron Smith dived over a few minutes later, the try coming after a 5m scrum.
Some fancy footwork from Wallabies winger Filipo Daugunu put the Aussie in an attacking position before a line break from flanker Ned Hanigan put them metres from the opposition tryline.
After Matt To'omua quickly recycled the footy, it was passed out to Marika Koroibete on the left wing, who completed the classy try in the 30th minutes.
Sports broadcaster Tulsen Tollett tweeted: "Great line break by Hanigan and well finished off by Koroibete. He needs to get the ball in his hands as much as possible. Game on now."
New Zealand maintained a narrow three-point lead as the players retreat into the sheds after a tightly-contested opening 40 minutes.
But everything went downhill for the Wallabies after the break.
After the All Blacks opted to quickly spread the ball out towards the right wing, Jordie Barrett dived over near the corner post in the 43rd minute.
Richie Mo'unga missed the conversion kick - which struck the upright - and New Zealand are therefore leading by eight points.
Sports broadcaster Tulsen Tollett tweeted: "Exactly the start the Wallabies didn't want. Caleb Clarke getting the ball in his hands too much if Australia want a hope."
Hats off @AllBlacks Too much class second half at Eden Park. 32 year undefeated streak continues. Encouraging signs though from @wallabies Looking much better in attack these days. Quicker hands at the breakdown & urgency. #BledisloeCup #NZLvAUS #bledisloe2020— Robert Grasso (@RobertGrasso) October 18, 2020
In a horror passage of play for the Wallabies, New Zealand winger Caleb Clarke claimed a bomb and promptly sprinted through several missed tackles, making about 40 metres in the process.
Thanks to a mammoth overlap on the left wing, the All Blacks then snared their second try in five minutes, with Ardie Savea diving over.
The Wallabies were cruelly denied two tries - after spreading the ball out to the left wing, Marika Koroibete lunged over the tryline, but was just held up by a phenomenal defensive effort.
Soon after, the Aussies thought they had scored when hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa put the ball down after a rolling maul. However, the try was disallowed when the TV referee suggested there was a double movement.
To rub salt into the wounds, Jordan Petaia's dropped ball allowed All Blacks skipper Sam Cane to sprint through for a comfortable try at the other end, New Zealand's third of the second half.
After an uneventful final 20 minutes, New Zealand celebrated their emphatic win, with attention now shifting to The Rugby Championship.
Too many missed tackles and turnovers by the Wallabies. A poor second half. But if Australia win the two matches in Sydney & Brisbane, we will regain the Bledisloe Cup, which we haven’t won since 2002 #BledisloeCup #NZLvAUS— Karina Carvalho (@karina_carv) October 18, 2020
Originally published as Tension after menacing Bledisloe biff