No place to hide for Wallabies at Eden Park

GEORGINA ROBINSON
Last updated 00:51 24/08/2014
All Blacks fan
CHRIS SKELTON/ Fairfax NZ Zoom
Ryan Crotty surges on the break in a stellar first half from the centre in his first start for the All Blacks.

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There is no hiding at Eden Park. 

The rain, wind and mud confused the picture in Sydney a week ago, allowing the Wallabies to draw with the All Blacks and their fans to hope.

Not so in Auckland.

In the clear, cold air of Mt Eden, back on their turf, the All Blacks made a mockery of Australian confidence with a six-tries-to-two massacre of Australia, keeping the Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand hands for a 12th straight year with their biggest ever score against their neighbours.

The Wallabies did not score a try until the 61st minute. Somehow, Israel Folau and Michael Hooper found the try line, softening a brutal 44-6 scoreline to its inescapably blunt but kinder resting place of 51-20.  

Until then they were staring down the barrel of a worst-ever loss to their arch enemies. History will record it as their third worst in a 111-year history of Test matches between the two nations. 

It was all too late. The All Blacks had bashed and barged their way to total dominance, leaving the Wallabies stupefied in their wake. 

The man at the heart of it was Richie McCaw, enduring an early spell in the sin bin to redeem himself with two second-half tries. It was a fitting response to weeks of questions over his form, fitness and tactics. 

Australia opened the scoring in the second minute with a penalty goal, Kurtley Beale level-pegging with opposite number Aaron Cruden until the cracks appeared with a 27th minute penalty try to New Zealand. 

After a week of All Blacks-fuelled scrutiny on the role of the referee at set piece, it took 25 minutes for the first scrum.

But that was no harm, when it became apparent what the All Blacks pack was capable of. They monstered the Wallabies on their own ball and bashed and barged their way down field only to be held up on the line.

They re-loaded from a 5m scrum and shunted the Australians back to score. Cruden converted to make it 16-6. 

It went from bad to worse, not least because an act of single-handed heroism from Israel Folau put the Wallabies in striking distance. 

The dual international ran more than 50 metres, shaking off Richie McCaw, and was hit high by New Zealand winger Cory Jane but Poite and his assistants missed the shot and rookie second rower Sam Carter lost the ball. 

From there the All Blacks did what they do best. Cruden broke back down field and popped it over to his winger - with Beale caught hopelessly in between - and Savea scored. 

The All Blacks led 23-6 after the conversion.

With a few minutes left in the half the Wallabies showed another glimpse of what might be possible if they have front foot ball, fanning out in attack off set piece with some solid distribution from Beale. 

But like much of this year's optimism, which is draining slowly from the fans of Australian rugby fans, it frustratingly came to naught. 

The horrors continued after the break. 

Australia found ascendancy at scrum time in the 48th minute but Toomua failed to find touch with his kick to the corner.

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The Wallabies barely survived the counter attack and it was de ja vu a minute later, when the All Blacks turned it over on their 22m line and moved it the length of the field before Kieran Read grounded it. 

McKenzie threw substitutes at the match but it was groundhog day for the final 30 minutes. 

The All Blacks smelled blood and twice used their lethal maul to put McCaw over. 

It was the Wallabies worst loss to New Zealand in history by the 60th minute, 44-6 with 20 self-flagellating minutes left to play. 

Folau scored to soften the blow and then Hooper stood up, Beale converting both to make it 44-20 in the 65th minute. 

But the All Blacks had the final say, sending Steven Luatua over on the full time bell. Aaron Smith converted to make it 51-20.

It was their biggest ever score against the Wallabies, topping the 50-21 massacre in Sydney in 2003. 

- Sydney Morning Herald

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