Rugby Union
New Zealand still the team to beat
With a comfortable win over Australia, the All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup and declare their World Cup intentions.
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2011 12:26
On your marks... New Zealand are ready to prove the world they can live up to the big occasion [GALLO/GETTY] 

New Zealand left no one in doubt they will be one of the favourites for the rugby World Cup after a clinical 30-14 victory over Australia in their Tri-Nations clash at Eden Park on Saturday.

The All Blacks and Wallabies are favoured to meet in the final as the world's two top-ranked teams and New Zealand's authoritative victory, in front of 54,711 fans, gave them a valuable pyschological edge as they attempt to end 24 years of World Cup failures.

With the Tri-Nations shortened because of the World Cup, which starts next month in New Zealand, the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup with three well-taken tries to Ma'a Nonu, Keven Mealamu and Sitiveni Sivivatu.

Flyhalf Daniel Carter added 15 points with three conversions, two penalties and a drop goal, while Digby Ioane and Rocky Elsom scored tries for the Wallabies.

Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper converted both tries, though the Wallabies had plenty of scoring opportunities only to be thwarted by a brutal All Blacks' defence. James O'Connor also missed three penalties.

"It was great to win and the Bledisloe Cup is very important to Richie (McCaw) and the boys," All Blacks coach Graham Henry told reporters.

"They're delighted about that and the way they played the game.

"They played very professionally. I thought the defence was outstanding."

While Carter opened the scoring with a 38-metres penalty after David Pocock was penalised at the breakdown, the All Blacks scored two well-worked tries after soaking up sustained pressure from the Wallabies.

Scrumhalf Piri Weepu sparked the first when he exploited a weak Wallabies' blindside defence to sprint untouched for 30 metres before the home side switched play back across field for Nonu to barrel over.

The All Blacks' second try again came from deep inside their own half as they burst down field before Nonu got within centimetres of the line only to be stopped just short. Mealamu, however, scooped the ball up and wrestled his way over.

Carter converted to give the All Blacks a 17-0 lead, but O'Connor could have reduced that advantage twice in the final 10 minutes of the half only to scuff both penalty attempts.

O'Connor missed another penalty opportunity after the break and Carter twisted the knife, extending New Zealand's lead to 20-0 when he landed a drop goal from 25 metres.

          Nonu scored the first try to put All Blacks on the way to victory over Australia [GALLO/GETTY] 

Australia, however, showed their potent attacking ability when Genia and Beale combined to put Ioane into space for the Wallabies' first try.

Australia looked to have gone to sleep at the re-start, though, as Kieran Read contested the ball and Smith scooped it up before sprinting clear and putting Sivivatu over. Carter's sideline conversion extended the lead to 27-7.

Carter converted a scrum penalty to give the home side an unassailable lead with about 10 minutes remaining, before Elsom added a consolation try with less than five minutes remaining.

"We are pretty disappointed with our effort," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.

"Tactically, we probably didn't help ourselves. We allowed the All Blacks to establish the d-line (defensive line) and allowed them to establish some line speed in that defence and that stymied our attack.

"We left a lot of points out there as well."

New Zealand's victory will give the team hope they can finally end their World Cup curse when they kick-off their campaign against Tonga on September 9 in Auckland.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.

About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.