By Roger Childs
After a mixed performance in the drawn test against the Wallabies last week, the All Blacks were in impressive form on Saturday winning 27–7. The first half saw the honours even and the home side went into the shed with only a 10-7 lead. However three tries in the second half and keeping the visitors scoreless, ensured a well-deserved victory.
Plenty of intensity from the All Blacks
There was much more physicality this week and the All Blacks forwards, ably led by Sam Cane had the better of their opposites. Cane tackled strongly, won turnovers and scored an excellent try in the second half. The other outstanding forward performance came from Ardie Savea who produced some bullocking runs, won crucial turnovers and also scored a try.
In the backs Beauden Barrett returned to the team at full back and had an excellent game with reliable line kicks and some superb breaks, including one where he brushed off five would-be tacklers in a 50-metre run. However, the star in the backs was Caleb Clarke on the left wing with a number of strong runs and solid defensive work.
The coaches emptied the bench in the second half and all the reserves coming on played well. This highlighted the depth of the All Black squad which the Wallabies can’t match.
The Wallabies had their moments
The visitors had scored a very good try in the 25th minute and were in the game until early in the second half. They twice went over the line in the second forty minutes, but in the first instance the referee corrected ruled that a double movement had occurred, and in the second the left winger was held up in the corner.
Once again Michael Hooper led by example and he won his usual crucial turnovers. However, unlike last week, the Wallabies missed crucial tackles and there were a number of handing errors.
There are two more tests in this Bledisloe Cup series and both of them are in Australia. The Wallabies will need to win both these matches to take the trophy which they haven’t held since 2002.