YOKOHAMA – World champions New Zealand crushed old foes Australia 37-20 in Japan on Saturday to complete a 3-0 Bledisloe Cup series whitewash.
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett scored 17 points, and was five-from-six with the boot in Yokohama as the All Blacks piled more pressure on the struggling Wallabies and under-fire coach Michael Cheika.
Barrett dived over for the pick of New Zealand’s five tries just before the hour mark to cap a dazzling individual performance.
The Wallabies, meanwhile, slumped to a ninth defeat in their last 12 Tests after being dominated in all departments.
Liam Squire, Kieran Read, Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane also touched down for the rampant all Blacks, who came into the Japan Test having won nine of the last 10 matches against their trans-Tasman rivals.
Sonny Bill Williams set up New Zealand’s opener on his 50th Test appearance with a clever pass for Squire to crash over after sustained All Blacks pressure.
A long Kurtley Beale penalty cut the deficit before All Blacks skipper Read rolled off a scrum to score easily, helped by some matador Wallabies defending.
Australia hit back just before halftime with some direct build-up play that allowed Sefanaia Naivalu to bulldoze over in the corner to cut New Zealand’s lead to 17-10.
Barrett and Bernard Foley traded penalties at the start of the second half, before Barrett exchanged lightning-quick passes with Ioane to race clear for New Zealand’s third try.
That converted try put the All Blacks up by 12 points, and when Tolu Latu was sin-binned for a retaliatory slap to Codie Taylor’s face, it was effectively game over for the Wallabies.
Smith added insult to injury moments later when he found space to dive over and make it 32-13, although Australia grabbed a late consolation try through Israel Folau, who impressed in his first Wallabies start at centre.
However, there was still time for the prolific Ioane to cap a man-of-the-match performance by scoring his 22nd try in 21 Tests, collecting an outrageous through-the-legs pass from Barrett to score in the corner.
New Zealand face the 2019 World Cup hosts Japan in Tokyo next weekend, before flying to Europe to complete their five-match tour against England, Ireland and Italy.
The Wallabies, who lost six of eight games before a stunning 45-34 comeback win over Argentina earlier this month eased some of the pressure on Cheika, play November Tests away to Wales, Italy and England.AFP