After a stunning demolition of the All Blacks, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he wants to keep building on his side’s good form to seal the Bledisloe Cup next week.
In an upset that few pundits saw coming, the Wallabies won 47-26 in the the first Test at Perth on Saturday night and are now setting themselves to win at Eden Park for the first time since 1986 and bring home Trans Tasman trophy for the first time in 17 years.
The Perth result was the most points Australia has ever scored in a match against New Zealand and equalled the record for the biggest winning margin over the All Blacks.
“At the end of the day we just bought ourselves a ticket to Auckland,” Cheika told Channel Ten after the match.
To be in the game. I was really pleased with the game … I want to keep building on that.”
The All Blacks played the second half with only 14 men after lock Scott Barrett was sent off in the 40th minute by French referee Jerome Garces for making contact with the head of Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper with his elbow and shoulder.
Australia already had their tails up and took a 16-12 lead into the break, but Cheika said he did not take anything for granted even at that stage.
“We didn’t even speak about the man down at half time because they’ll hurt you anytime they have the chance,” he said.
Hooper was among the Wallabies best, along with halfback Nic White, backman Reece Hodge and former bad boy James O’Connor relishing his second chance.
O’Connor didn’t disappoint at outside centre, with his form particularly strong early when the game was at its hottest.
The Wallabies dasher set up the opening try by clinging onto a messy pass and holding off an opponent. The 29-year-old’s transfer allowed Hodge the space to sprint to the line.
O’Connor also displayed his strength in defence, hanging on with all his might to bring down powerful All Blacks skipper Kieran Read in the first half.
The Wallabies extended the margin to 26-12 early in the second half with giant flanker Lukhan Salakaia-Loto scoring before Samu Kerevi set up the second.
The bustling centre ran over the top of star All Blacks fullback Beauden Barrett before offloading to White.
Barrett exacted some revenge six minutes later when he darted through some flimsy Wallabies defence, with the conversion closing the gap to seven points.
But that was as close as the undermanned Kiwis could get as the scoreboard ticked over for Australia.
Reece Hodge scored his second try while fellow winger Marika Koroibete – who was equally as dangerous all night – also crossed.
Fullback Kurtley Beale iced the win with their sixth try in the 80th minute to allow the celebrations to begin.
The loss stunned the All Blacks, who now could surrender their world No.1 ranking to Wales for the first time since 2009 should the Welsh beat England later this weekend.