Another Eden Park visit, another nightmare for the Wallabies who sank to a 12th straight Bledisloe Cup series defeat on Saturday night.
The ruthless All Blacks showed exactly why they are the best team in world rugby, by far, hammering Australia 51-20 in a record-breaking rout that delivered a sobering dose of reality to Ewen McKenzie’s team.
New Zealand, stinging from last week’s 12-12 draw in Sydney, dominated every facet of the game to continue an amazing 33-match winning streak against allcomers at their spiritual home.
The Wallabies never looked like ending their own 28-year Bledisloe drought in Auckland once the hosts skipped ahead with back-to-back tries on the 30-minute mark for a 21-6 lead.
Lapping up perfect conditions on a fast Eden Park surface, the All Blacks played their energetic, high-tempo game to near perfection for a six-try thumping.
For the bulk of the night, the Wallabies’ performance was in stark contrast as they struggled to cope with the heat from the world champions.
Even two late tries to Israel Folau and Michael Hooper, again Australia’s best, couldn’t bring a hint of respectability to the scoreline.
It was the All Black players under most pressure from last week’s draw – their tight-five and playmaker Aaron Cruden – who did the damage.
Cruden was at his scheming best, in partnership with dangerous halfback Aaron Smith, and befuddled Australian defenders time and time again.
Richie McCaw, yellow-carded early in the game, finished with two tries in a retort to critics who see him as a fading force.
For 15 minutes, it all looked so promising for Australia with forays into the opposition quarter and the All Blacks reduced to 14 men with McCaw sin-binned for only the second time in his 128-Test career.
But the hosts absorbed the pressure while their captain was off and then took the match away in a blink of an eye when he returned.
Wallabies lock Rob Simmons received his own yellow for dangerous play defending a rolling maul and New Zealand’s pack ruthlessly exploited the numerical advantage.
A tight-head scrum win was followed by a penalty try after the Australian pack buckled on their line to fall 10 points behind.
Folau hit back with a 50m counter-attack but an unpunished high tackle by Cory Jane and then a Sam Carter fumble resulted in five points registered by Julian Savea at the other end of the field.
Adding injury to insult, hooker Nathan Charles suffered a shoulder injury which ended his night before halftime.
The All Blacks continued the rout after the break with Kieran Read starting and finishing a wonderful 70m counter-attack before McCaw pocketed his double at the back of a relentless rolling maul.
Steven Luatua dived over on fulltime to rub salt into Australia’s wounds with the highest scoreline in a trans-Tasman battle.