Japanese rugby fans got a taste of what to expect at next year’s Rugby World Cup on Saturday as New Zealand beat Australia 37-20 in front of 46,143 at Nissan Stadium, the largest crowd ever to watch a test match in Japan.
At the ground that will host the final of Rugby World Cup 2019, the All Blacks outscored the side they beat at the 2015 World Cup final five tries to two to make it a 3-0 sweep in this year’s Bledisloe Cup series.
With the weather conditions perfect — but the playing surface less so, cutting up badly at scrum time — the men in black dominated nearly facet of the game to remind everyone why they have been ranked No. 1 in the world for nine straight years.
Following a haka performed to a mixture of respectful silence and raucous cheers, it was the Wallabies who started quickest with Dane Haylett-Petty forced into touch just short of the line with just 90 seconds on the clock.
But that was the only time Australia really threatened in the first 38 minutes as the All Blacks started to dominate territory and possession and put countless phases together.
And they turned that dominance into points in the 12th minute as Liam Squire galloped over for the opening score.
An exchange of penalties between Kurtley Beale and Beauden Barrett as the game entered the second quarter saw the gap remain at seven before both sides scored just before the break.
All Blacks captain Kieran Reid crossed from a scrum five meters out, only for Sefa Naivalu to reply as the Wallabies made sure their second incursion into the All Blacks’ 22 was rewarded with points.
Given the number of turnovers they were committing — the count was 9-1 in New Zealand’s favor at the break — the Wallabies could feel pretty pleased the scoreline was just 17-10 as the teams turned around.
The first half finished with the All Blacks having 66 percent of possession and 72 percent of territory.
But they were forced onto the back foot early in the second stanza as the Wallabies once again started well.
Bernard Foley slotted over a penalty in the 48th minute before Barrett responded with a kick of his own eight minutes later as the All Blacks finally got out of their half.
That score sparked the Kiwis back into life and Barrett crossed from 40 meters out following a well-worked backline move.
With the Wallabies forced into playing catchup rugby, a loose pass from Israel Folau was intercepted by Ben Smith as the All Blacks stretched their lead to 19 points with 10 minutes remaining.
Folau made up for the error with a try five minutes from time, but it was the All Blacks who had the last word as man of the match Rieko Ioane went over following a through-the-legs pass from Barrett.
All — Kyodo News+