New Zealand sweep Bledisloe Cup after dominant win over Australia in Perth

All Blacks run in six tries in 38-21 victory despite Jordie Barrett's first half red card

An irresistible New Zealand clean swept the Bledisloe Cup on Sunday with a commanding 38-21 victory over Australia in a fiery contest in Perth.

Despite missing several 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 pedal 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.

They ran out comfortable victors even though full-back Jordie Barrett was red-carded in a physical first half.

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 Optus Stadium two years ago.

The match counts towards the concurrent Rugby Championship, which also features South Africa and Argentina.

The All Blacks showed no ill-effects after being in a "soft" 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.

The match had been twice rescheduled leading to bickering between Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby.

"We trained well and just had to nail our job. I'm proud of the boys," All Blacks skipper Ardie Savea said.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper lamented his team's turnovers.

"We've got to have more patience with the ball, there were some loose offloads," he said.

Refreshed and rested after a long layoff in Covid-free Perth, the Wallabies had been quietly confident of causing an upset.

They had vowed to be aggressive and promptly started with a midfield break from a pumped up Samu Kerevi causing panic in the All Blacks defence. But it was to no avail and 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.

But 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.

It meant the All Blacks were down a player for 20 minutes but they adapted expertly and even managed to stretch their advantage 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.

The teams will travel to Australia's Queensland state for round three of the Rugby Championship next week.

Updated: September 5th 2021, 9:11 AM
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