Australia had been working a combination of variations throughout the game, moving backs around in field position, sometimes successfully, sometimes creating inaccuracies, but it was a set-piece masterclass from a scrum that gave the All Blacks the advantage.

Halfback TJ Perenara stood off the scrum to take the clearance from No.8 and captain Kieran Read and passed to first five-eighths Barrett. He then stopped and flung the ball back across the base of the scrum to left wing Rieko Ioane.

Ioane powered down the blindside, scythed through two tacklers and then fed Barrett who had put his speed to effect to double round and run 35 metres to score.

That effectiveness on attack was in contrast to desperate All Blacks defence which denied Australia’s lock Rob Simmons a try when he was wrapped up over the line by Beauden Barrett and Perenara while earlier, under defensive pressure, fellow lock Izack Rodda dropped the ball in a handy position

Australia fullback Dane Haylett-Petty had been pushed into touch by lock Scott Barrett in the corner in the first few minutes after they had capitalised on a midfield kick made by Barrett and returned with interest.

But New Zealand cleared the line with some comfort, courtesy of its scrum set-up plays and by running the ball with effect from the second line of attack and it was that avenue that opened up the first try-scoring chance which flanker Liam Squire took 11 minutes into the game.

Long periods on attack by the All Blacks demanded defensive application from the Australians and while they frustrated several promising opportunities it came at a cost of penalties conceded. Australia were forced to make 59 tackles compared to 36 for New Zealand. Finally, the defence was broken, and when it happened it was with surprising ease.

From a five-metre scrum, resulting from a penalty again conceded in the 35th minute, Perenara stood his ground after feeding the ball and Read picked up the ball and found an easy path to the goalline.

That fired Australia and they charged onto attack, working the ball at speed through the backline and with more effect. The tentativeness of earlier in the half was replaced by more assurance and when flanker Michael Hooper surged close to the line it created space on the shortside where wing Sefa Navilu scored in Beauden Barrett’s tackle.

New Zealand had enjoyed 69 percent of territorial domination and 66 percent of possession while Australia conceded eight turnovers to only two by the All Blacks.

Australia suffered late in the game when a penalty reversal after hooker Codie Taylor took a push in the face from replacement hooker Tolu Latu who was sin-binned for his pains.

Almost immediately wing Ben Smith picked off an intercept and ran 50m to extend New Zealand’s advantage to 32-13.

Australia kept at it and in the 76th minute replacement centre Samu Kerevi made the most of momentum the forwards had built up and slipped a superb pass to Folau, who ran a great line from the wing to score.

But the All Blacks came back with some scintillating touches after Smith went close to scoring again after he was slipped a superb pass by replacement first five-eighths Richie Mo’unga. However, the ball was moved wide quickly with Beauden Barrett firing an audacious pass to Ioane who cut inside the defence to score the final try of the game.


New Zealand 37 (Liam Squire, Kieran Read, Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Ben Smith tries; Beauden Barrett 3 con, 2 pen) Australia 20 (Sefa Naivalu, Israel Folau tries; Kurtley Beale pen; Bernard Foley 2 con,  pen). HT: 17-10

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  1. Another close one – yep the NH tour going to be v telling. I think the SH sides best be prepared for an all mighty battle otherwise many losses.

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