Mon, Oct 29, 10:39am by Staff Writer
The All Blacks have completed a 3-0 series sweep of the Wallabies in their 2018 Bledisloe Cup series after a 37-20 win in Yokohama on Saturday afternoon.
New Zealand scored first through open side flanker Liam Squire after 11 minutes, with Australia’s Kurtley Beale countering with a penalty goal in the 21st minute.
Australia struggled to do anything meaningful with the little field position they had in the first stanza, coughing the ball up on repeated occasions and gifting New Zealand possession.
Kieran Read scored in the 35th minute from an Australian line out error, with the Kiwi side’s lethal play just before and after half-time proving to be Australia’s undoing once more.
Sefa Naivalu scored in the corner just before half-time to reduce the deficit at the main break to just seven points.
After just 34 per cent possession in the first half, the Wallabies found themselves with plenty more ball in the second half, amassing 60 per cent possession.
They spent 64 per cent of the second half in the opposition’s territory, but failed to make it count on the scoreboard.
Sustained attack in the opening stages of the second half yielded just a penalty and when Beauden Barrett scored in the 58th minute, Australia’s task was nearing impossible.
Silatolu Latu was sin binned in the 67th minute for a retaliatory push in the face against his All Blacks opponent, after the Wallabies had won a penalty at the scrum.
It was a moment of madness from the young prop, but the game was beyond doubt at that point.
Israel Folau through a risky offload that was duly intercepted by All Blacks full back Ben Smith and taken in for a try, with Rieko Ioane scoring in the closing stages to cap off a dominant win by the All Blacks.
Israel Folau scored a late consolation try for Australia as they managed to breach the New Zealand defence in the 75th minute, but it was too little too late for Australia.
New Zealand will remain in Japan and take on the Brave Blossoms next Saturday, while Australia head to Europe to prepare for their Northern Hemisphere tour.
46,143 fans were in attendance for the match at Nissan Stadium, which will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup final next year. It is the biggest rugby crowd in the stadium’s history.
Australia has plenty of work to do ahead of next year’s World Cup, slipping to seventh in the IRB World Rankings.
Michael Cheika’s charges are faltering on both sides of the ball and while their defence was improved slightly, a full 80-minute performance is what has been lacking from the Wallabies for some time now.
New Zealand is a $2 favourite to win the World Cup after triumphing against Australia in the final at Twickenham in 2015.
They are grouped with South Africa, Italy, Namibia and a qualifier, with the top two teams from the group progressing.
Ireland is the second ranked team in the world at the moment and second favourites to win the World Cup at $5.50.
The Irish have what appears to be a much easier group with Russia, Samoa, Scotland and hosts Japan in pool A.
Australia is $12 to win the World Cup and has been drawn in pool D. They will face Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay in the group stage.
It is the All Blacks’ match against Ireland in Dublin on the 18th of November that is circled on the calendar’s of many in world rugby, with the Irish $2.80 underdogs and New Zealand priced as $1.44 favourites.
A week prior the All Blacks will play England at Twickenham and are $1.17 favourites to claim victory against the hosts.
Australia’s Northern Tour sees them face Wales, Italy and England in three end-of-year Test matches.
Rugby World Cup Odds
New Zealand $2
South Africa $8.50
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