The Wallabies have won the opening game of the 2019 Bledisloe Cup, belting a 14-man All Blacks during the second half with a stunning attacking display.
After a tight first half where both teams wasted opportunities after an aggressive start, it was the sending off of Scott Barrett just 50 seconds out from halftime which altered the course of the game.
The All Blacks number four was ruled to have made illegal contact to the back of Michael Hooper’s neck, and the red card left the All Blacks with a 14-man defensive line which struggled to stop the Wallabies charge.
The Wallabies had the better of the first ten minutes of the game, getting out to a brilliant start in Perth.
A Christian Lealiifano penalty goal had them into the early lead, before a Reece Hodge try off a nice flick pass on the left-hand side from James O’Connor cemented the early advantage.
Australia might have been up ten points to nothing after as many minutes, but as the All Blacks so often do, they found a way to hit back and get back in front of the contest.
The All Blacks opening try came from a kick, with Anton Lienert-Brown managing to win the race to the footy ahead of Michael Hooper, who was busy battling with Kieran Read, before Rieko Ioane scored the All Blacks second try just a couple of minutes later to put them into the lead.
The nature of the visitors come back, including an exciting counter raid for the New Zealanders second try had the Wallabies worried, but some missed opportunities from both sides in the following minutes saw the game break into a back and forth arm-wrestle.
Some poor discipline, including the send off of Barrett just before halftime, allowed Christian Lealiifano to kick a pair of penalty goals in the final minutes before the main break, and the Wallabies would take a 16-12 lead into the sheds.
Tries to Lukhan Sakakai-Loto and Nic White shortly after halftime kicked the Wallabies away to a 14-point lead, however, a try shortly afterwards to Beauden Barrett kept the All Blacks in the contest.
The Wallabies put the game to bed in the following minutes though, with Marika Koroibete scoring a try in the middle of the ground around the ruck, before Hodge followed it up with his second.
Ngani Laumape got the All Blacks a late sniff, but it was never going to be enough, with a shaky Wallabies outfit managing to hold on despite some crazy decisions in the final five minutes, kicking when they simply didn’t need to.
A try to Kurtley Beale in the final 90 seconds put the icing on the cake for a fabulous Wallabies victory.
The 47 points scored by the Wallabies is their greatest ever total against the All Blacks, with the two teams now set to cross the ditch next weekend for Game 2 in Auckland.
It’ll be must-win for the Wallabies, who must win both matches in the shortened 2019 series to reclaim the Cup.
All Blacks 26