New Zealand v Australia, Bledisloe Cup, October 31
All Blacks' comeback floors Wallabies
October 31, 2009
Conrad Smith landed a killer blow for the All Blacks
© Getty Images
Adam Ashley-Cooper Berrick Barnes Robbie Deans Rocky Elsom Matt Giteau Sir Graham Henry Richie McCaw James O'Connor Rodney So'oialo
Australia conceded a half-time lead to slump to a 32-19 defeat against New Zealand in their Bledisloe Cup showdown at the National Stadium in Tokyo.
Dan Carter contributed 22 points from the kicking tee to complement tries from Sitiveni Sivivatu and Conrad Smith, with Peter Hynes scoring a try in response for the Wallabies.
Robbie Deans' men were in desperate need of a win as they prepare to begin their Grand Slam tour attempt against England at Twickenham next weekend. Instead their lack of finishing power was again apparent as the All Blacks powered clear in the second-half to score a seventh consecutive victory over their Trans-Tasman rivals. The changes in the All Black coaching setup appeared to have lifted them, with their problem lineout working well under Graham Henry and the defence resolute throughout.
Matt Giteau had an early chip through charged down by Neemia Tialata, but as the All Blacks swarmed back on the covering fly-half, Will Genia thrillingly sparked defence in to attack.
The diminutive Reds scrum-half snaffled the ball and stepped his way past Rodney So'oialo and Jimmy Cowan before breaking in to space. He delayed his pass as the frantic All Blacks gave chase, with James O'Connor caught by Brad Thorn to concede a penalty for the first scoring chance. Giteau curled his effort in from out wide.
The All Blacks safely collected their first lineout, much to the delight of their new forwards supremo, but were found lacking at the breakdown in the early exchanges as the Wallabies flooded the tackle area.
Giteau's second penalty chance was conceded by Adam Thomson on the floor and the Australian fly-half deservedly extended their lead. The All Blacks regained possession immediately and attempted to string together some meaningful phases in Australian territory but the Wallabies showed commitment in defence and continued to shade the breakdown battle.
Some over-eagerness handed Carter a bread and butter opportunity however, with an Australian defender needlessly in at the side. The All Blacks then used Thomson effectively to continue their good start at the lineout and began to claw back some ground on the floor with a swift turnover allowing Cater a chance to slide a kick between defenders, Smith chasing. Genia mopped up superbly under immense pressure but more indecision from the Wallabies at the ensuing lineout allowed the All Blacks to quickly regain the ball and pile on the pressure.
The result was a stunning team try founded on tight running angles and some superb orchestration from Richie McCaw. The Wallabies soaked up a number of phases before an arching pass from Cowan found the All Black skipper. He fired a quick ball infield to Tom Donnelly with the lock showing soft hands to bring Mils Muliaina in to the line. The fullback stood up in a tackle to give the ball back to McCaw, who spotted Sivivatu looming on his outside. The wing collected the ball and dived in to the shallow in-goal area to score.
Carter converted and a quick turnover led to a scything 40 metre break by Cory Jane to keep the pressure on the Wallabies. Carter followed up his winger's incursion with a raking kick to the corner but the next points went to the Wallabies as Hynes' run drew a penalty from the All Blacks' cover. A superb kick by Giteau brought his side back to within a point and also a personal milestone of 100 points against New Zealand.
A scrum penalty handed the three points back to Carter almost immediately but the All Blacks lost their try-scorer Sivivatu to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle as Adam-Ashley Cooper leaped to collect a high ball. Giteau fired the penalty to deep inside the All Black 22, where after several phases Genia released Hynes towards the line with a superb pass.
The Reds wing pinned his ears back despite the presence of three All Blacks, crashing over in the corner. He took the defenders and the corner flag with him and referee Mark Lawrence went upstairs to the TMO. After lengthy deliberation by the official Lawrence lost patience and awarded the try based on his view of the incident.
The Wallabies kept the pressure on for the remainder of the half, with a cheeky chip by Genia punishing some rare indecision by Carter. Ma'a Nonu covered and was lucky not to be penalised after palming the ball across the dead-ball line. From the scrum, Wycliff Palu powered through McCaw's attempted tackle but was held up by a last-ditch dive from Cowan.
A sloppy start to the second-half from both sides yielded an early chance for Nonu, but the powerful centre was pulled up for crossing as he set Smith on a run to the line. Smith waited only minutes to cross for the All Blacks' second though, as some excellent work by the impressive Jane punctured the Australian defence.
After a burst from Muliaina, Jane rode a tackle and popped a delayed pass to Smith, who evaded O'Connor's weak attempted tackle to stroll past the remaining cover and score. Giteau missed his next shot at goal and a knock-on from Palu ended some concerted pressure. The Wallabies showed willingness to take on the All Blacks up front, with Cooper the next to capitalise and break the line. Palu was denied in the shadow of the posts again, this time by Nonu who wrenched the ball from his grasp.
Smith and Jane combined well to put Sivivatu in to space but the wing could only knock on and a similar fate befell replacement Kieran Read as he looked to pounce on an offload from McCaw. From the ensuing scrum the All Blacks won a penalty however and Carter, who had looked uncomfortable, again found his range from the touchline to extend the lead. He did the same minutes later to take his side clear of a converted try and rack up 200 points against the Wallabies.
Giteau took his next shot at goal as the Wallabies looked to get back within striking distance but almost as soon as he had watched his kick sail through, Carter landed his fifth and sixth penalties to restore the cushion and condemn the Wallabies.