All Blacks overcome hotel 'bugging' incident to wallop the Wallabies in Rugby Championship opener
Published 20/08/2016 | 14:17
New Zealand produced a stunning performance to thrash defending champions Australia 42-8 in Sydney in the opening match of the 2016 Rugby Championship
The contest was as good as over by half-time with rampant New Zealand scoring tries through Ryan Crotty, Beauden Barrett, Jerome Kaino and Waisake Naholo to establish a 32-3 lead at ANZ Stadium.
Replacements Dane Coles and Julian Savea added further scores in the second half to complete one of New Zealand's biggest ever victories over their arch-rivals.
The All Blacks were perhaps spurred on by the discovery of a listening device this week in a Sydney hotel room where a New Zealand team meeting was held.
The Wallabies defeated their arch-rivals 27-19 at ANZ Stadium to clinch the title last season, but there never looked like being a repeat on Saturday as the All Blacks - who beat Australia 34-17 in the 2015 World Cup final - made a barnstorming start.
Bernard Foley slotted over a fourth-minute penalty to give Australia the lead, but within two minutes New Zealand had scored the first of their six tries with Crotty finishing off a fine move.
Barrett then scored the next 15 points by himself, adding the extras to Crotty's score before slotting over two penalties and converting his own 25th-minute try.
Worse was to follow for Australia with Kaino charging down Foley's clearance to score before Barrett set up Naholo for the All Blacks' fourth try of the period.
Fly-half Barrett, who earlier this month helped the Hurricanes win their maiden Super Rugby title with a man-of-the-match performance in their final win over the Lions, was only able to convert one of those two tries but New Zealand were already out of sight.
The embarrassment was not over for the defending champions, though, and Coles and Savea - with his 40th try in 44 Test matches - crossed within three minutes of each other just before the hour mark to push New Zealand into a 42-3 advantage.
At that stage a record-breaking result in this fixture looked on, with New Zealand's 43-6 win over Australia in 1996 being the biggest points difference between the two superpowers previously, but that proved to be it with regards to the All Blacks scoring.
Instead, it was Australia who managed to notch a consolation try through Nick Phipps with five minutes to go after New Zealand captain Kieran Read had been sin-binned, but it mattered to little to the outcome as the All Blacks emphatically claimed first blood in the Bledisloe Cup.