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All Blacks extend Bledisloe Cup run

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Sportal.co.nz     24 Aug 2013     Getty Images

Wing Ben Smith made it five tries in two Tests when adding a brace to his first Test hat-trick while debutant first five-eighths Tom Taylor kept the points coming with a conversion and four penalty goals for 14 from his boot.

Even the Wallabies try, scored by wing Israel Folau, was from an intercept to inflate the Australian score.

Australia's forwards were taken to the cleaners by the All Blacks. Lineout ball was regularly picked off by a New Zealand team that struggled in the first Test at lineout time. At crucial moments in the second half the Australian scrum disintegrated, just the sort of celebration prop Tony Woodcock would have enjoyed in his 100th Test. The moral victory to the All Blacks was far more significant than in the first Test in terms of the lesson dished out.

The home team were unable to achieve the attacking thrust of the first Test due to a more determined Australian defensive effort and with debutant Tom Taylor fitting the required mould there was a more assured look to New Zealand's play.

Israel Dagg found another gear. Kicking the ball to him was a wasted exercise by Australia, if it wasn't returned with interest it was run back at them either by himself or in liaison with his wings Julian Savea and Smith. His only blemish was being stood up by Israel Folau who scored after an intercept. The try was a lucky let off for Australia as they had conceded another lineout.

Australia made a lively start, with flanker Michael Hooper again setting the pace at the breakdown and in support play. He was an early menace while blindside support Scott Fardy was also prominent in linking roles. Prop James Slipper appeared to be something of a battering ram and the Australians lost something when he was forced from the field after 35 minutes.

There was much more variety in their field play but still not quite the accuracy to put the pressure on the home team. The kicking left the All Blacks time to assemble their counters and that was fatal.

After an early foray or two from the All Blacks, capitalising on charge downs of kicks by halfback Will Genia the Australians created pressure in the All Blacks quarter.

It took an intensive defensive effort from the home team to keep their line intact and the only reward for Australia was a sixth minute penalty goal for second five-eighths Christian Leali'ifano.

However, that resulted in a positive response from the All Blacks who capitalised on a superb mid-field thrust from right wing Ben Smith after a pass from new first five-eighths Tom Taylor, who had already announced his arrival with a break from his first touch of the ball.

Smith created a play which almost produced a chance for left wing Julian Savea and when Australia cleared from the lineout, fullback Israel Dagg again opened the defence which almost provided another chance for Savea.

However, after missing a penalty goal attempt, the Australians went back on the attack and it was Leali'ifano who took a superb gap after a pass from hooker Stephen Moore. It was only a desperate tackle by Aaron Smith that denied the try however, a penalty was conceded and Leali'ifano took Australia to a 6-0 lead.

But, inevitably, that drew a response from the All Blacks. Another high kick from Dagg was followed up and secured by No.8 Kieran Read. The ball was moved to the short side where Savea fed Dagg and he found flanker Stephen Luatua at hand and his pass put wing Smith in for his fourth try in two Tests.

The All Blacks loose forwards combined to create the second try for Ben Smith. Richie McCaw secured ball dropped by the Australians and then as play moved across the field it was Read who tidied and from a ruck flanker Steven Luatua burst onto the ball and into wide open space to almost reach the goal-line. Tackled he showed good ball skills to release the ball and then pick up again which provided vital moments for Dagg to feed Smith in again just on half-time.

At the start of the second half James O'Connor made a stunning 50m break which created clear space and it was only his hesitation on whether to go alone or to pass to Genia that stifled the move and in subsequent play the All Blacks won a penalty and cleared the line.

All Blacks' scrum power started to take over in the middle stages of the second half and it from one pressure scrum that Taylor landed his second penalty goal in the 53rd minute.


Scorers:

New Zealand 27 (Ben Smith 2 tries; Tom Taylor con, 4 pen; Israel Dagg pen ) Australia 16 (Christian Leali'ifano 3 pen ). HT: 15-6