If Australian rugby fans needed any further reminding of the poor state of the game in this country it was provided by the All Blacks, who destroyed the Wallabies 54-34 in their Bledisloe Cup encounter in Sydney.
The final scoreline flattered the Wallabies, who were outclassed at the Olympic stadium by the All Blacks, with the world champions taking their foot off the pedal after they led 54-6 early in the second half.
It was the most points the All Blacks had ever scored against the Wallabies, who eventually grabbed some consolation tries through debutant Curtis Rona, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau.
The night belonged to the All Blacks, who issued a statement of how far ahead they are of their trans-Tasman rivals despite going through the motions for much of the second half.
Australia’s provincial teams could not muster a win against their New Zealand counterparts during the Super Rugby season, an embarrassing statistic which was reflected in the All Blacks’ dominance of the Wallabies on Saturday night.
The two sides will meet in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Dunedin next Saturday.
The All Blacks scored eight tries in total, six of which came in the first half with Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty both registering doubles before the break.
The contest was already over at half-time when the All Blacks led 40-6 and they moved further ahead inside eight minutes of the resumption of play courtesy of tries to Damian McKenzie and Ben Smith.
A crowd of just 54,846 spectators, the lowest ever for a Bledisloe Cup match at the Olympic stadium, were witnessing one of the Wallabies’ worst performances before Rona finally scored the home side’s first try in the 51st minute.
Kuridrani, Beale and Folau followed with their efforts across the stripe but it was clear the All Blacks had shut down, perhaps with thoughts already turning to the Dunedin encounter in a week’s time.
If history is any guide, the Bledisloe Cup will remain in New Zealand hands for a 15th straight year with the Wallabies having never won a series after losing the first match at home.