New Zealand responded from a poor first test performance to beat Australia 27-7 in their second Bledisloe Cup match at a near sold-out Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday.
It erased memories of a 16-16 draw in the first game last week and also gave them the advantage in retaining the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy, which they have held since 2003, as the series moves to Australia for the final two matches.
The pressure on All Blacks coach Ian Foster was no doubt alleviated a little with the result, which was played in front of a crowd of 46,049 after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted earlier this month.
The Wallabies put the All Blacks under enormous pressure early on before the home side increased the pace of the game and began to break tackles, with fullback Beauden Barrett and winger Caleb Clarke making several strong runs.
Richie Mo’unga slotted a 19th-minute penalty as the territorial pressure told before scrumhalf Aaron Smith scored a try four minutes later from an attacking scrum.
Mo’unga converted to give the All Blacks a 10-0 advantage before the Wallabies again showed how dangerous they can be with the ball in hand when Marika Koroibete crossed after a turnover and James O’Connor’s conversion narrowed the gap to 10-7.
Clarke then was the catalyst for tries within the space of three second-half minutes to Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea with two powerful runs, the second where he bounced out of several tackles, to give the home side a 20-7 lead.
Some superb defence by Mo’unga stopped Koroibete from scoring his second try shortly after, before hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa had a try overturned by referee Angus Gardner.
All Blacks captain Sam Cane finished off a sweeping movement less than 90 seconds later to give them a 27-7 lead that ended the Australian challenge.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 18, 2020