All Blacks rout Wallabies, remain perfect
The All Blacks put one hand on the Tri-Nations trophy and another on the Bledisloe Cup tonight.
And after backing up their double demolition of the Springboks by walloping the Wallabies 49-28 they warned the rest of the rugby world that they have the ability to finally get both hands on an even bigger piece of silverware next year.
Unless the rulemakers can find some way to inhibit them between now and the World Cup they have delivered the blueprint for the methods needed to win the Webb Ellis Cup.
It's up to others to try to catch up. That might take some doing. New Zealand's southern hemisphere neighbours certainly don't appear to be up to that challenge right now.
The Wallabies appealed as the most likely for this early phase of test rugby under the new law interpretations.
But they were cast aside with embarrassing ease, seven tries to three, at Etihad Stadium. Robbie Deans was left to contemplate his eighth consecutive loss to Graham Henry. Few will have hurt as much as this one as he prepares to head to his old hometown of Christchurch for the rematch next Saturday.
The Dingo looks to have a dog on his hands compared to the pedigree breed of All Blacks emerging with such pleasing timing.
Australia's early field position produced a try from a charge down yet they were unable to engineer little else against the muscular All Blacks defence.
A couple of sloppy tackles in the second half will irk the Kiwi coaching staff although the game was well and truly won by then.
But it is New Zealand's approach with the ball in hand that is so handsome.
They have returned entertainment to a game that was in dire need of it.
The beauty of the All Blacks' attacking philosophy is that involves absolutely everyone. It's not just the backs who are dangerous - the tight five are menacing every time they have the ball in hand as too. And they are popping up out wide as well as doing the hard yards up the middle.
Look no further than lock Brad Thorn and hooker Keven Mealamu for evidence of that allround approach. Both featured in the buildup to an early try that was completed by some sensational skills from wing Cory Jane and fullback Mils Muliaina.
Mealamu was in the thick of the action throughout to continue his superb test season.
And when Jane wasn't setting up tries he was scoring them as well, beating Drew Mitchell with embarrassing ease and then squeezing over in the corner to give the All Blacks a bonus point before half time.
The party never stopped and there was even the warming sight of wing Joe Rokocoko ending a year-long try drought to cap his record 64th test.
The All Blacks forwards game was huge last night, following up their dismantling of the Springboks' pack.
Richie McCaw, Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino were too powerful and skilful for their back row opposites.
The scrum was solid despite the shaky surface and the lineout continues to give heart.
Given that sort of stability the All Blacks have enough weapons in their backline to create havoc.
The hard-nosed attitude from the referees continued with South African Craig Joubert sin-binning All Blacks prop Owen Franks and Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell for shoulder charges in the first spell. A second yellow card to Mitchell three minutes into the second half set the scene opened the way for further annihilation with Australia reduced to 14 men.
Joubert was also heavy with his whistle around the breakdowns, determined to prevent slowing tactics from either side, a point that cost Mitchell his place.
But while Joubert was busy he was also consistent - that was the essential ingredient.
And given an even playing field by the men in charge, the All Blacks are showing there really is only one team in the game right now.
All Blacks 49 (Mils Muliaina 2, Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko, Corey Flynn tries; Carter 2 pen 4 con) Wallabies 28 (Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rocky Elsom tries; Matt Giteau 3 pen 2 con). HT: 32-14