Ben Smith scored a hat-trick as the All Blacks gave new Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie plenty to think about with a convincing 47-29 win in the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney. Six tries to two proved the difference in what was a crushing victory.
The All Blacks started well with a try to Ben Smith in the corner, and despite Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia scoring a sensational 75m effort from a lineout turnover, the visitors were never troubled.
While things were fairly evenly poised at 25-19 at the break, the second half was all about the All Blacks as they cruised to their 100th Test win over the Wallabies, who themselves improved the overall scoreline with a late consolation try to James O’Connor.
Aaron Cruden came in for injured Dan Carter and scored 20 points overall, while captain Richie McCaw looked as potent as ever, giving away a few penalties but being his usual menacing self.
“I am obviously very happy with the performance. It’s not every day that you can come here and get 40-odd points. I thought both teams played good rugby,” said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
“For Richie McCaw to get through 70 minutes after having his break and everyone doubting him just shows the character of the bloke once again, while Aaron Cruden showed that he’s a true international player of world-class ability and he led the team very well.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Wallabies, as next week the return match is in Wellington.
Enjoy the highlights and please let us know your thoughts on the match as a comment below.