All Blacks stun Wallabies with ‘special performance’

Monday, 25 August 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

AFP: Both All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen and the defeated Wallabies praised the skill of the world champions Saturday as they thrashed the Australians by a record 51-20 in a six-try rout in Auckland. A week after they were lucky to escape with a 12-all draw following a woeful performance in Sydney, the All Blacks returned to their best in the return Rugby Championship encounter. “It was a special performance,” Hansen said as the 31-point winning margin exposed the gulf between the world’s first and third-ranked sides. It was the highest score the All Blacks have ever posted against Australia and saw them retain the Bledisloe Cup, contested between the two countries, for a twelfth straight year. “I sensed that we were going to play a lot better than the week before, because we played so poor the week before and because we trained so very well. We managed to bring our A game tonight,” Hansen said. But the All Blacks coach also tempered his praise saying it was not the perfect game and there were areas to work on. “There’re parts of that game that weren’t great. We let in some soft tries for a start and there were a lot of balls that we dropped at times when we had opportunities to score,” he said. “If we sit down and allow ourselves a wee moment of satisfaction tonight to enjoy the performance then it’s back to work tomorrow.” The Wallabies went into the game full of confidence and expectation, believing they could improve on the draw last Saturday, only to be stunned by the All Blacks blistering start. Their cause was not helped by a yellow card for lock Rob Simmons midway through the first half with the All Blacks scoring two tries while he was off the field. “We were chasing a lot in that first period before the yellow card which took a toll on us. Then to try and catch up and get back in the game was difficult,” said Wallaby captain Michael Hooper as he listed where the game was lost. “They stuffed our offloads and made good metres off us. That took it out of us,” he said. “They got over the advantage line quite easily and then that just means we’re chasing our tail. We’re running back and they’ve got class backs to pounce on that.” Dejected Wallabies Coach Ewen McKenzie felt his side was outplayed throughout the 80 minutes. “It doesn’t matter which sector of the game, we didn’t take control or dominate any of that so it was pretty disappointing. We can’t sit here and pretend anything other than we didn’t perform to our expectations,” he said. The commanding All Blacks forwards produced a monster shove at a five-metre scrum to win a penalty try for the first five-pointer of the match. Their forward superiority was also rewarded with two tries to captain Richie McCaw from lineout drives while Julian Savea, Kieran Read and Steven Luatua also dotted down. Aaron Cruden, producing his most influential performance deputising for injured fly-half Dan Carter, converted all the tries and landed three penalties. The Wallabies points came from tries to Israel Folau and Hooper with Kurtley Beale kicking two conversions and two penalties.