The All Blacks have set both an intimidating lead in the 2011 Tri-Nations as well as underlined Eden Park’s status as a seemingly impenetrable fortress ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The All Blacks completely dominated the first half, going into the sheds with a 17-0 score line. Soon after the break this was stretched to 20 nil with a Dan Carter drop goal, just his third in over 1200 test points scored. After a Sivivatu converted try, a Carter penalty and a converted Digby Ioane try, the score line was 30 to 7. However, Wallaby captain Rocky Elsom scored a try with 4 minutes to play, making the final score 30 to 14.
Much of the victory can be attributed to the All Blacks’ sting defence, lead by Jerome Kaino. Owen Franks may have come second equal behind Richie McCaw in total tackles made with 12, but it was the quality not quantity that left their impression on the Wallabies. As for McCaw, after a week where his credentials were being questioned, apparently also by himself, he dominated the match stats. He led the All Blacks with tackles made and being in the first three to the breakdown.
Prominent for the All Blacks were halfback Piri Weepu and the record setting All Blacks midfield of Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu. The All Blacks will also be pleased to have Kieran Read back, who led the All Blacks in ball carries (8) and metres gained (61).
Dan Carter also gave a master class to his much vaunted opposite, Quade Cooper. Nowhere was this more apparent than in defence. Carter made tackle after tackle while Cooper seemed to avoid contact like the plague. At one stage Cooper performed a no-look offload at his own goal line that sent James O’Connor scrambling to force the ball as Conrad Smith pounced. O’Connor himself will also be disappointed in his game, where his goal kicking yips lead to the responsibility being passed to Cooper after missing his first three kicks.
Digby Ioane was among Australia’s best, always looking dangerous and at one stage scoring a scorching try. The Wallabies will also be pleased with how their much-maligned scrum performed. It will be interesting to see how much the All Black’s scrum issues in the first half will be blamed on Wyatt Crockett.
The All Black victory has renewed the confidence of the fickle New Zealand public, with an additional NZ$1 million dollars worth of Rugby World Cup 2011 tickets getting sold on the back of the win.
All Blacks 30 v Australia 14
All Blacks 30:
Tries : Ma’a Nonu, Keven Mealamu, Sitiveni Sivivatu
Conversions: Dan Carter 3
Penalties: Dan Carter 2
Drop Goal: Dan Carter 1
Tries: (Digby Ioane, Rocky Elsom
Conversions: Quade Cooper