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The All Blacks "squeezed" the Aussies in their 22 - 16 win at Eden Park tonight, says captain Richie McCaw.

McCaw rated the game as one of the toughest after "having to get out of
second gear" early on.

"We pretty much squeezed them and it wasn't that pretty," McCaw said.

The All Blacks' record at Eden Park remains intact after tonight's victory. The Wallabies have still not won at Auckland's home of rugby since 1986.

Stephen Donald's boot proved largely on target as he slotted five and ended up making the difference with each team scoring one try a piece.

By the end of the first half the All Blacks were in striking distance, despite some wobbly passes and aimless kicking into the swirling wind from both sides.

The game started with the Wallabies mounting pressure and putting Berrick
Barnes over for a try after he busted through some average defence.

The visitors were looking good, scoring ten points in as many minutes.

A try to All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, as he hung off the shoulder of
Conrad Smith, meant the All Blacks stayed in touch with the Aussies who had the upper-hand during the first half.

The Wallabies almost had a second try as a pass went towards George Smith. He only had the try line to beat but the pass was wayward and ended up coming off his head.

It wasn't until the second half that the All Blacks hit the lead and the
rest of their points would come from penalties.

Neither side could gain a foothold as each tried to put phases together in conditions that included ice-cold driving rain.

The match was intense with blind-side flanker Jerome Kaino summing it up
like this: "It was a huge battle, it was just a matter of who broke first."

After the game, Donald said: "I didn't play that well out there tonight. I had to get through it for the team".

All Black coach Graham Henry said the game was based on character, with the All Blacks having enough to bounce back after being ten points down.

"From our point of view it was a very pleasing result. The guys got back to the back bone that they had," Henry said.

He also praised Donald who he said played his best game of international
rugby tonight.

The All Blacks play the Springboks in the next leg of the Tri-nations but
Henry "hasn't really thought about the Boks".

"Traveling to South Africa is always a huge challenge, particularly playing at half past four in the morning," Henry said.

He said he regretted having to tell two members of the 30 man squad that
they could not be a part of the African leg but the rules were that the All Blacks can only take 28 players.

Wallaby coach Robbie Deans told media that the loss was frustrating.

"We're much better than this time a year ago but frustrated still to be
short," Deans said.

Captain Stirling Mortlock said the All Blacks deserved to win.

"The feeling is that we're very close and we have to move forward from this experience," Mortlock said.

New Zealand 22 - Richie McCaw try; Stephen Donald (5) goals

Australia 16 - Berrick Barnes try; Matt Giteau (3) goals

Halftime 10-13