The All Blacks celebrated their 100th test victory over the Wallabies to safeguard a decade-long ownership of the Bledisloe Cup in Sydney tonight, as the start of Ewen McKenzie's tenure added to Australia's recent sporting humiliations.
McKenzie was unable to match his predecessor Robbie Deans by savouring a win in his first trans-Tasman test as head coach against the All Blacks as the world champions completed an emphatic 47-29 victory - just three points shy of the record 50-point haul they amassed here at ANZ Stadium in 2003.
Although the All Blacks preparations were hampered by the loss of Dan Carter and Liam Messam before the squad left Wellington - and there were concerns over Richie McCaw's lack of game time returning from a sabbatical - New Zealand still maintained their dominance over a Wallabies side in transition.
After suffering their seventh defeat in eight tests at the venue the Wallabies face the challenging task of winning in Wellington next week to ensure the first Bledisloe clash at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium in October is not the customary dead rubber.
The Wallabies have not won back-to-back tests in New Zealand since 1949 - their last success occurred in 2001.
McKenzie's ploy of introducing personnel that were not exposed to the trauma suffered by teams selected by predecessor Robbie Deans was admirable though now nine more Wallaby players are scarred by the experience of facing the All Blacks, to varying degrees.
In contrast, Aaron Cruden exorcised any demons from his previous Bledisloe in Sydney three years ago where he was subbed for Colin Slade before two late tries salvaged a 23-22 victory.
Cruden made the ideal start after a concerted build-up from the kick-off when his flick pass found Ben Smith in space after James O'Connor mistakenly veered off his wing in the third minute - an early score reminiscent of the Lions rapid start to their crushing win six weeks ago.
The Wallabies managed to regroup through the reliable boot of Christian Leali'ifano, though it the second five-eighth's charged down clearance by Cruden on the half hour enabled the pivot to score his second test try.
Two minutes later a missed touch finder by Jesse Mogg initiated a record-breaking five-pointer by McCaw, who atoned for the concession of three ruck penalties, when he dived over in O'Connor's wing for his ninth touchdown in trans-Tasman clashes - eclipsing former Wallaby wing David Campese's eight-try haul.
That quick-fire double threatened to dispirit the Wallabies but inspirational halfback Will Genia responded with a runaway try reminiscent of his Super Rugby championship-winning try in 2011 when Michael Hooper snaffled an overthrown All Black lineout two minutes from the break.
Genia received the ball 70-metres out and held Cruden and Aaron Smith at bay before wrong-footing a stumbling Israel Dagg.
Cruden nailed a penalty after the hooter to give the All Blacks a 25-19 advantage. It was whittled back to three five minutes after the resumption as Leali'ifano maintained his perfect record but the ABs' trademark ruthlessness signalled the key momentum shift.
A snipe by Aaron Smith, who was excellent despite predictable feeding issues at the scrum, freed up Conrad Smith for the bonus-point try in the 52nd minute; Ben Smith then added his second before the final quarter when the wing crossed with ease when Genia fluffed a scrum clearance.
That twin setback prompted Quade Cooper's injection from the bench for Toomua, and he promptly delighted All Blacks supporters by failing to push his first restart 10m.
Smith completed the rout - and his hattrick - when pouncing on a loose ball eight minutes from the end of another dark night for Australian rugby.
All Blacks 47 (Ben Smith 3, Aaron Cruden, Richie McCaw, Conrad Smith tries; Aaron Cruden 3 pen 3 con; Beauden Barrett con) Wallabies 29 (Will Genia, James O'Connor tries; Christian Leali'ifano 5 pens 2 con). HT: 25-19
- © Fairfax NZ News
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