Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie and skipper James Horwill were left steaming after their team lost back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks.
New Zealand inflicted another severe defeat on Australia when they won their Rugby Championship rematch 27-16 in Wellington on Saturday.
The margin was not as great as the 47-29 hiding inflicted a week ago in Sydney, but the comprehensive manner in which they dominated much of the game was most familiar.
The two tries to one second Test victory also means the All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup, contested annually between the two countries, for an 11th successive year.
However, McKenzie and Horwill felt the All Blacks were again given too much leeway by a referee, this time South Africa’s Jaco Peyper, as a number of professional fouls went unpunished.
The penalty count heavily favoured the Kiwis – just eight against the All Blacks and 16 against the Wallabies.
Australia led 6-0 after an impressive first half-hour, but McKenzie said it should have been more – after hooker Stephen Moore was denied what appeared a fair try and All Blacks Ma’a Nonu and Kieran Read escaped yellow cards.
Moore burrowed his way to the line in the seventh minute and touch judge Lourens van der Merwe told referee Jaco Peyper to refer it to the television match official, but he instead gave Australia a penalty for a 3-0 lead.
A Nonu shoulder charge on James Slipper then went unnoticed before Read’s cynical professional foul on Will Genia after Christian Lealiifano was pulled down on the line in the 24th minute had Australian blood boiling most.
“If you work and build pressure you either get rewarded with points or you get rewarded with yellow cards,” the Wallaby coach said.
“We got neither.
“That makes a massive difference. If you are playing good footy and get rewarded for it, it’s a whole different psyche.
“We had six points and should have had more. We let them off the hook there before half-time and they scored 15 points.”
Horwill pleaded with the referee on the field – reminding him that the All Blacks employed similar tactics in Sydney the week before.
But Peyper was having none of it, dismissing the Wallaby captain’s queries.
All Black skipper Richie McCaw admitted they were under pressure in the early stages of the game.
“For the first 30 minutes, we were under the pump,” McCaw said.
“We were just beaten to the punch in the contact areas.
“But when we got our opportunities, because momentum does change, we managed to capitalise on it and that’s the way you’ve got to do it in rugby these days.
“I thought we took good options tonight, our kicking was good and we took our chances.”
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen acknowledged Australia were far more threatening than their first Test , but said the main difference was his side’s ability to make the most of their try-scoring chances.
“I said last week we’d only done half the job and to win again this week means we’ve got the Bledisloe Cup in the cupboard for another year,” Hansen said.
“We knew that Australia would come at us and in the first 20 minutes a lot of the moments were going to belong to them if we didn’t turn up mentally.
“We got away to a slow start and they probably owned it a bit. But what I did like was that we absorbed it and came back and started to win our own moments.”
It was the Wallabies’ 15th straight loss to NZ across the Tasman, dating back to 2001 and means the third Test in Dunedin in two months will be a series dead rubber.
The All Blacks’ series victory celebrations were given extra fizz with grizzled prop Tony Woodcock playing in his 100th Test.
“You’ve just got to take your hat off to New Zealand, they’re a very clinical side and they make the most of their possession,” Wallabies captain James Horwill said.
“They’re very good and unfortunately now we have another year without the Bledisloe Cup, which is very disappointing.”