New Zealand clean sweep Bledisloe Cup
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Perth (Australia) (AFP) –
New Zealand coach Ian Foster lauded his team's attitude as the All Blacks started a tour "like no other" Sunday with a commanding 38-21 victory over Australia in Perth to clean sweep the Bledisloe Cup.
Despite missing a slew of stars and having their preparations interrupted, the all-conquering All Blacks held the Wallabies scoreless in a lively first half and kept their foot on the gas throughout.
At a sun-drenched Optus Stadium, in the first daytime Bledisloe Cup match in Australia since 1996, the All Blacks ran in six-to-three tries in front of a near-capacity crowd of 52,724.
The All Blacks showed no ill effects a "soft" coronavirus quarantine in Perth, where they had only been allowed to venture out of their hotel for training sessions due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak in New Zealand.
"We were really committed on the park," Foster told reporters. "The attitude and the commitment to run and scramble I thought was outstanding."
It kick-started a lengthy stretch away from home for the All Blacks, who are set to be on the road for the next 14 weeks.
They will play in the remainder of the Rugby Championship, which this match counted towards, in Australia's Queensland state before overseas stints in the US and Europe.
"It's a tour like no other and to start off with 3-0 (in the Bledisloe Cup) is special and we were open about achieving that," Foster said.
- Wallabies woes -
The Wallabies, meanwhile, were left lamenting an error-strewn performance and an inability to capitalise on the All Blacks being shorthanded for 20 minutes after full-back Jordie Barrett was red-carded in a physical first half.
"We had chances to put heat on them on the scoreboard but we didn't turn pressure into points," Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said.
Having already clinched the three-test series against the Wallabies after victories in Auckland last month, the All Blacks exacted revenge having been stunned 47-26 at the Optus Stadium two years ago.
Refreshed and rested after a long layoff in Covid-free Perth, the Wallabies had been quietly confident of causing an upset.
They started aggressively but it was to no avail as the visitors gradually gained ascendency.
Their dominance was rewarded in the 18th minute when Jordie Barrett finished off a spectacular attack started by a brilliant grubber kick from his brother Beauden Barrett.
The home side's woes deepened when Noah Lolesio missed a sitter of a penalty to extend the Wallabies' scoring drought.
The home side received a much-needed boost when Jordie Barrett was red-carded in the 28th minute for dangerous play after his boot hit Marika Koroibete's face.
But the shorthanded All Blacks stretched their advantage further when David Havili crossed over after a powerful driving maul.
The Wallabies' task of a comeback after half-time against a reloaded All Blacks appeared forlorn.
Folau Fainga'a, however, attempted to defy the odds when he crossed over in the 50th minute to finally provide cheers for the home faithful.
But Will Jordan responded immediately and the result was effectively sealed when Hivili ran 80 metres for an intercept try.
© 2021 AFP