Sport Union More Bledisloe woe for Wallabies as All Blacks turn it on

More Bledisloe woe for Wallabies as All Blacks turn it on

First Bledisloe Cup all blacks win
Beauden Barrett didn't have his kicking boots on but was devastating in general play. Photo: Getty
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The All Blacks have a taken a 1-0 lead in the 2018 Bledisloe Cup, with a 38-13 victory over the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

After a tight first half which saw the Wallabies go to half time with a 6-5 lead, the All Blacks put on a scintillating, second-half masterclass, piling on five tries against a stunned Wallabies side.

To have any chance of wresting the Bledisloe Cup back from NZ after a 16-year drought, the Wallabies will now have to win at the All Blacks’ fortress of Eden Park in Auckland, where Australia hasn’t managed a win since 1986.

Compounding Australia’s pain is a leg injury to superstar fullback Israel Folau, who hobbled off after 65 minutes when landed awkwardly trying to take an up-and-under in All Blacks’ territory.

Australia’s set piece looked shaky early, with the Wallabies losing their first two lineouts and collapsing the opening scrum of the night.

But after steadying, they dominated much of the first half through stern defence and forged a lead through penalty goals from Reece Hodge and Bernard Foley.

The Wallabies were 90 seconds away from keeping the All Blacks scoreless in the opening half of Test for the first time since the 1991 World Cup semi-final. But halfback Aaron Smith broke the Wallabies’ hearts, crossing for a try in the 38th minute.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read described the try as a turning point.

“It was crucial. They had probably dominated that half so for us to get back in touch on the scoreboard was great. I think the resilience within the boys was awesome.”

Despite the late lapse, the Wallabies went to half time with a 6-5 advantage at the break – after trudging to the same sheds trailing 40-6 at halftime in last year’s corresponding fixture.

But the match turned with two signature All Blacks strikes early in the second stanza.

First, Jack Goodhue finished off an 85-metre counter-attack, then Beauden Barrett toed a loose ball ahead to score a telling, opportunistic try nine minutes later to suddenly leave the Kiwis 19-6 clear.

It was all over when man-of-the-match Brodie Retallick crossed to make it 26-6.

The highlight of an otherwise forgettable night for Wallabies fans was a try on debut for young gun Jack Maddocks, a second-half replacement for winger Dane Haylett-Petty.

But a late double to All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo completed the humiliation for the Wallabies in front of 66,318 fans at the Olympic stadium.

“We need to be disappointed about this result,” said Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.

He lamented his side’s inability to capitalise on a promising start as the All Blacks made a sluggish, error-prone beginning.

“They put us under pressure, turned over the ball and they ran in some quality tries. The set piece was also disappointing, the Kiwis did a good job stifling us there.”

-With AAP