The All Blacks have comfortably beaten the Wallabies 36-0 and retained the Bledisloe Cup in a performance that will have pleased Steve Hansen and concerned Michael Chieka.
Ahead of the game there was a lot of talk about how this confident Wallabies team could bring the momentum of the past few weeks to Eden Park and really challenge the out of sorts All Blacks.
The Aussies had a stable team with partnerships that had started to gel and perform – could this be the day that the fortress of Eden Park is breached?
Well – no, no it wasn’t. The All Blacks put in a performance that fans, players and coaches have been expecting for a while and showed that there is still quite a gap between the trans-Tasman rivals.
The weather was terrible and the All Blacks brought the required accuracy and control whereas the Aussies struggled to ever assert any dominance.
From the opening stages of the match the Kiwis found a rhythm that had been missing previously and they start building pressure on the visitors.
The All Blacks showed early how important a win was today when they took a shot at goal with a 4th-minute penalty.
For almost half an hour the game stayed tight on the scoreboard with just three points in it but the pressure was building on the Aussies and either side of half time the All Blacks punished the Aussies with three tries.
The first was opportunistic as Richie Mo’unga pounced on a dropped pass between Kurtley Beale and Reece Hodge and ran in unopposed to score.
The second though was more impressive and highlighted a key difference today – the Aussies didn’t kick well enough from hand, their defensive alignment was off and they were terrible in the air.
It started with a weak kick out of defence that went down the middle of the field where Beauden Barrett picked it up and sprinted immediately to his left.
He linked up with George Bridge who saw a half gap outside Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and gassed him. He then passed back inside to Aaron Smith whose kick a few phases before hand had started the whole thing and he scored unopposed.
Dan Coles’ sin-binning just before half time did make a few people’s ears prick up – could this be the chance where the Wallabies fight back?
But what happened was quite alarming for the Aussies – in the next 10 minutes the All Blacks’ scrum monstered that of the Wallabies, even though the Aussies had the man advantage.
This is very concerning for the Aussie forwards and there will be a lot of work done to try and make sure this never happens again.
The second half continued in much the same way with the Wallabies fighting hard but never being able to put genuine, persistent pressure on the All Blacks.
They failed to create many real chances and even with Will Genia bringing some spark when he came on, the All Blacks just kept up the pressure and took their chances when they came.
Sevu Reece looks like he could be a potential player of the World Cup with the way he created opportunities and finished chances well. He is going to cause defences so many problems in Japan.
Worryingly for opposition Sonny Bill Williams also looked good and Patrick Tuipulotu had a great game at lock. If you thought the Kiwis were running out of locks, then think again.
The Wallabies will be alarmed at how they were kept scoreless over 80 minutes of rugby and there will be plenty of analysis on how they failed to challenge the All Blacks in both the set-piece and loose.
Beale especially had a game to forget and fans will be frustrated after his great game last week. He was terrible in the air and created nothing with ball in hand. What’s that you ask? Did the Wallabies used to have a full back who was untouchable in the air?
So the Bledisloe stays in New Zealand and the momentum of both sides has changed. What does this mean for the World Cup?
Well, it’s what we knew already really: the All Blacks will be favourites, but can be beaten, and the Wallabies can play well on any given day, but will struggle to win seven in a row.