New Zealand
Why current All Blacks just love Eden Park
Richard Kelly
August 14, 2015
Preview: New Zealand v Australia

The All Blacks were comprehensively outplayed by Australia at ANZ Stadium in the opening Bledisloe encounter; still, there is no need for alarm from New Zealand fans largely due to the venue where this week's return clash will take place. Eden Park is the spiritual home of New Zealand Rugby, and the scene of their two Rugby World Cup triumphs.

The All Blacks have won their last 33 Tests in Auckland and have made life hell for visiting Wallabies sides all the way back to 1986, making it 29 years and 15 Tests since the men in gold left the hallowed Auckland turf with anything resembling a smile.

More recently, the Wallabies' experiences at the venue have been particularly unpleasant. Using the stats provided Opta Sports, we examine their two visits to Auckland since the 2011 World Cup and investigate the All Blacks' wider success in the same period.

On Australia's last two visits to Eden Park, the All Blacks have triumphed by at least 20 points; once rendering the Wallabies scoreless and once hitting a half-century. Australia struggled to break the defensive line in both of those matches, notching just five clean breaks compared with New Zealand's 22. The hosts clearly dominated possession on their favourite patch of turf, while the pressure they applied through the set-piece forced Australia into a significant amount of errors. The Wallabies' turnover rate, bearing in mind their lack of possession, was particularly woeful and no doubt contributed to their downfall.

NZ v AUS - Last 2 at Eden Park  
TeamAustraliaNew Zealand
Goal Kicking %100%88%
Clean Breaks2.511.0
Defenders Beaten8.521.5
Missed Tackles21.58.5
Tackle Success %86%92%
Penalties Conceded11.58.5
Turnovers Conceded18.016.5
Turnovers Won7.09.0
Lineout Success %84%93%
Scrum Success %85%86%

As mentioned earlier, the All Blacks' dominance at the home of New Zealand rugby does not stop with the Bledisloe Cup. Since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in 2011, the All Blacks have maintained a remarkable scoring average at the venue and excelled in other areas.

The world champions are more prolific when it comes to clean breaks and defence while their tackling success rate is considerably better at Eden Park compared to their overall record in the last four years. One considerable difference in the All Blacks' performances at Eden Park can be seen in their possession figures; they average almost an extra minute with ball in hand when playing in Auckland. This is a considerable percentage in Test rugby.

Individually, Eden Park has been particularly happy hunting territory for winger Julian Savea and No.8 Kieran Read in recent seasons. The Hurricanes powerhouse has scored four tries in four appearances there while Read has three in his last five. Three of Savea's tries came in one game - against Ireland in 2012 - making it the first hat-trick scored by an All Black at the venue since Doug Howlett bagged a treble in 2003.

New Zealand Team Averages (2012-) 
 Eden ParkAll Grounds
Goal Kicking %80%73%
Clean Breaks9.58.8
Defenders Beaten17.219.6
Missed Tackles10.815.1
Tackle Success %91%88%
Penalties Conceded10.211.3
Turnovers Conceded16.315.1
Turnovers Won7.57.7
Lineout Success %90%88%

Aaron Smith has been another star performer at Eden Park in recent times, supplementing a try with four assists in six caps at the venue since 2011. Dan Carter, meanwhile, has missed just two of 16 shots at goal since 2012 while Brodie Retallick gets a special mention in defence; he's won four turnovers and completed 44 of 45 tackles for a tackling completion rate of 98% - better than any of the top nine tacklers.

It certainly makes for pleasant reading if you're All Blacks fan while for their Wallabies counterparts, it's enough to make them squirm in terror.

Julian Savea boasts an impressive try-scoring strike rate at Eden Park © Getty Images
© Opta Sports for ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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