New Zealand 41-13 Australia
All Blacks run rampant to retain Bledisloe Cup
Andy Withers
August 15, 2015
Date/Time: Aug 15, 2015, 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
New Zealand 41 - 13 Australia
Attendance: 48457  Half-time: 13 - 6
Tries: Coles, Nonu 2, CG Smith, Penalty
Cons: Carter 5
Pens: Carter 2
Tries: Folau
Cons: White
Pens: Cooper 2
New Zealand's Richie McCaw holds aloft the Bledisloe Cup, New Zealand v Australia, Eden Park, Auckland, August 15, 2015
New Zealand's Richie McCaw holds aloft the Bledisloe Cup
© Getty Images

New Zealand have retained the Bledisloe Cup with their best performance of the year to demolish Australia at Eden Park in Auckland, running rampant in the second half to send a message to those who had begun to question their Rugby World Cup credentials after the defeat in Sydney seven days before.

The scene was set for such a powerful performance after an incredibly emotional rendition of God Defend New Zealand and the Kapo O Pango haka, but Australia, full of hope after defeating New Zealand for the first time since 2011 in Sydney, made the better start and they were worthy of their three-point lead when Quade Cooper kicked a goal to a cacophony of boos after Israel Folau had broken the line in a nice attack sparked by the fly-half.

Dan Carter squared the ledger after Wycliff Palu had been penalised for holding the ball in the ruck, even if New Zealand should have been awarded a scrum given the back-rower had knocked on immediately before, but Australia went immediately on the offensive with phase attack that featured a bust from Will Skelton after Cooper had put Tevita Kuridrani into space on the right wing with a pass out the back.

New Zealand 41-13 Australia (Australia only)

Australia continued to attack deep in New Zealand territory, but the All Blacks stole the ball at a ruck in their own 22 and they spread the ball wide to Julian Savea, who bust up towards halfway. The All Blacks recycled, and Carter showed great footwork after Ma'a Nonu had taken the ball up as first receiver; the fly-half then put Dane Coles into space, and the hooker stood up Adam Ashley-Cooper and outsprinted Nic White in racing 40 metres for the opening try of the game. Carter converted and he and Cooper then traded penalties before half-time.

Dane Coles scored the try that shifted momentum towards to All Blacks © Getty Images

Quade Cooper: Unluggy and booed © Getty Images

Cooper, a public enemy in New Zealand still after a cheap shot on Richie McCaw in 2011, was jeered as he slipped trying to field a clearing kick, and his night became a nightmare when he was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Aaron Smith as the scrum-half seemed certain to cap a breakout created by wonderful footwork and a pop pass from Nehe Milner-Skudder. Australia's nightmare was only just beginning, however, as the All Blacks ran in two more tries while Cooper was in the sin-bin; first Nonu touched down after being put into space by Ben Smith following quick hands by the forwards in midfield, and then the second five-eighth put his midfield partner, Conrad Smith, in for the simplest of tries with a long cut-out pass. Cooper returned to the field, but the All Blacks' juggernaut was on a roll and Nonu crossed for his second try, the centre picking up an inside pass from Carter and powering through a weak attempted tackle by Nic White.

New Zealand's Ma'a Nonu scored two tries © Getty Images

Australia had a couple of opportunities deep in New Zealand territory, but the All Blacks' defence was not for breaching until Folau defused a cross-field midfield chip bomb from TJ Perenara before running home from halfway; and in truth the victory could have been more comprehensive as they retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 12th year in succession since regaining the trophy in 2003; Australia, meanwhile, are still looking for a way to defeat New Zealand at Eden Park, where they have now lost 16 straight Tests against their trans-Tasman rivals.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said after playing his 142nd Test, to become the most-capped player in international history, described the Rugby World Cup defence as "the mountain we want to climb", but "The Bledisloe means a hell of a lot".

"Sports's a funny old thing. Last week we were on the receiving end of it, but in true style of what it means to be an All Black we [regrouped] to put a performance together."

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore said Australia were "just outclassed".

"I thought the effort was OK, but we just fell off too many tackles. We were right in the game at half-time but just weren't good enough in the second half. Really disappointing. We defended pretty well, we were pretty physical in the first half, but when they went up a gear in the second half we were found wanting."

Israel Folau was good for Australia © Getty Images

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Australia "just made too many mistakes and there was a period there where we kicked the ball away a bit too much; and those mistakes hurt us".

"I thought we didn't improve from last week," Cheika said. "They did. And away from home you're going to feel that pain."

"There was a certain period in the middle part of that game we needed to keep the ball a bit more, play a bit more. Even in our own half and in the conditions, just to keep the ball and let our blokes have a go at breaking the line. They're the decisions you make in a game. I thought our lads played it right out to the finish. I know we took a bit of a tonking on the score, but they showed a lot of heart.

"When we did turn the ball over, we just scrambled a bit too hard made a few mistakes on tackles; we could have shut some things down but that's the way it goes."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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