This story was originally appeared on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission
The All Blacks have lifted the Bledisloe Cup for an 18th straight year after dismantling the Wallabies in the first half of the third test in Sydney.
New Zealand’s beaten Australia 43-5 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four test series.
The All Blacks had all but locked up the trans-Tasman trophy by halftime, when they led 26-0, having scored four unanswered tries.
First-five Richie Mo’unga scored two of them. The first was a brilliant solo effort from a scrum inside the Wallabies’ 22, while the second came when he collected a Beauden Barrett chip kick inside the All Blacks’ half and ran away to dot down under the posts.
Prop Karl Tu’inukuafe had opened the scoring in the seventh minute, crossing for his maiden try in test rugby after the All Blacks capitalised on the Wallabies being down to 14 men.
Right winger Filipo Daugunu was yellow carded for tackling his opposite Caleb Clarke in the air in just the third minute.
The All Blacks had numerical superiority for five minutes before they too were reduced to 14 men when right winger Jordie Barrett was sin-binned for raising his elbow while in possession.
The men in black continued to dominate and were awarded their second try in the 11th minute, only for the television match official to overturn it after deeming hooker Dane Coles didn’t apply downward pressure.
The All Blacks blew another opportunity moments later, with Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete denying Clarke in the right-hand corner with a try-saving tackle.
Mo’unga took his opportunities in the 21st and 27th minutes before Coles scored the All Blacks’ fourth try when he crossed in the left-hand corner from a well-worked line-out drive. Mo’unga converted from the sideline to extend the lead to 26-0 after half an hour.
Second-five Jack Goodhue missed a chance to score their fifth moments out from halftime when he knocked-on 10 metres out from the line after Mo’unga had slipped when he appeared on course for a first-half hat-trick.
Young centre Jordan Petaia ensured the Wallabies made a bright start to the second-half.
Petaia bust through meek tackles from Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett in the 42nd minute before passing to rookie first-five Noah Lolesio, who scored in the right corner to cut New Zealand’ lead to 21 points.
Neither side was able to create any clear-cut opportunities for the next quarter of an hour before Mo’unga kicked a penalty in the 60th minute to take their advantage to 29-5.
The All Blacks added another two tries in the final 10 minutes to complete the rout.
Replacement Rieko Ioane scored in the right corner after Hoskins Sotutu drew in Koroibete from the back of a five metre scrum before Jordie Barrett broke through the Wallabies’ midfield on half way and ran 50 metres to score next to the uprights.
Mo’unga converted both tries to finish with a personal 23-point haul.
With the Bledisloe Cup secure the All Blacks will now turn their attentions to the Tri-Nations, with their second test against the Wallabies in Brisbane next week.
They may be without blindside flanker Shannon Frizell, after he was yellow carded for a high tackle in the final minute.