All Blacks 41
Wallabies 13

The World can keep spinning on its axis for another day - another year probably - because the All Blacks are a long way from falling off any cliff.

They look awfully like a team on a mission, a team with everything they need to win the World Cup.

Read more:

Advertisement

There's no need to get carried away and start believing it will happen - but, certainly, after the performance last night, there isn't any need to be moping about wondering whether there are too many old blokes going round once too often.

No chance. This was a quality performance from a team who took defeat to heart last week and recalibrated.

The All Blacks got rid of all that lateral nonsense from Sydney. They didn't shovel nothing passes and stand back and wait. They fired Ma'a Nonu at them - straight out of a cannon. Kieran Read was noised up and everywhere and Sam Whitelock made a huge difference.

Simple rugby - played at speed and with awareness was what blew the Wallabies away. That's all it took - shoulders square to the touchline, lower body positions and greater speed and urgency at the breakdown and hunger.

Radio Sport: Match highlights

Dan Carter - We responded

Richie McCaw isn't a man given over to emotional scenes but admitted he left the Eden Park pitch with a lump in his throat as the crowd stood as one to applaud him tonight. His last test in New Zealand, his 142nd to create a world record, a thumping Bledisloe Cup victory after the disappointment of last weekend - it was nearly all too much for the man who must be considered one of the greatest All Blacks ever.

Radio Sport interview Dane Coles

Radio Sport interview Richie McCaw

Simple rugby - played at speed and with awareness was what blew the Wallabies away. That's all it took - shoulders square to the touchline, lower body positions and greater speed and urgency at the breakdown and hunger.

And while the scoreboard ticked along and there was much to admire about their attacking game, it was the intensity and accuracy of the All Blacks defence which was the star of the show.


The arrival of Wayne Smith has seen them tinker and adjust and the process has been a little painful, but obviously worth the pain as whatever they have done, has worked.

It was the All Blacks tackling that put Australia under pressure. There was nowhere for Australia to go and they resorted to aimless kicking that allowed the All Blacks to take control of territory and possession.

Advertisement

That defensive onslaught is going to be the basis of the All Blacks' game in England. That's how they are going to hurt teams and where they are going to get into opposition heads' and make them panic, just as the Wallabies did last night.

To be fair to to the Wallabies, some of them were probably well on edge as it was due to Quade Cooper. Poor, old Quade - he had another shocker and it feels like it's just too easy to set him off at Eden Park.

The All Blacks looked for him - put bombs up on him, ran at him and, with 30 minutes to go, they had broken him. A yellow card for Cooper ended his night and, who knows, possibly his World Cup dream.

This was in stark contrast to his opposite number. It's absolutely worth clarifying that Daniel Carter is neither busted nor flushed. A few issues were raised in Sydney, all of which could be filed under the broader question: does he still have what it takes to run the All Blacks?

The answer to that is, yes. Quite emphatically so. That left boot of his was a serious weapon last night and will be so again throughout the World Cup.

But Carter knocking over goals wasn't the story of the night. That box has long been ticked. It was Carter taking on the defence that changed the equation.

That was the missing piece. Some had given up on him, felt it wasn't there any more while even the most ardent believers were just beginning to wonder.

No need. Carter can run and step. He can see the space and get himself into it and he set up Dane Coles' try with a bit of the old magic.

And if it's magic the All Blacks want - and indeed need - then Nehe Milner-Skudder has to go to the World Cup. One magical run from to create the penalty try said it all. He's got something that works at this level.

New Zealand 41 (M. Nonu 2, D. Coles, Penalty, C. Smith tries; D. Carter 2 pens, 5 cons) Australia 11 (I. Folau try; Q. Cooper 2 pens; N. White con). Halftime 13-6.