Dagg double helps awesome All Blacks to back-to-back victories over Wallabies
New Zealand 29 Australia 9
Published 28/08/2016 | 02:30
Israel Dagg scored two first-half tries as New Zealand made it back-to-back wins over defending champions Australia in the Rugby Championship.
The All Blacks opened their campaign with a thumping 42-8 victory in Sydney last weekend and they produced another dominant display on home soil.
Dagg's brace left the world champions in control at the break in Wellington before tries from Julian Savea and Sam Cane put them out of sight.
Beauden Barrett booted nine points for New Zealand while Australia could only respond through two Bernard Foley penalties and one huge kick from debutant Reece Hodge.
It took only seven minutes for the All Blacks to open the scoring at the Westpac Stadium on the back of good work by scrumhalf Aaron Smith. His jinking run had Australia's defence scrambling before the ball was worked out to the right, where Dagg had an easy finish from debutant Anton Lienert-Brown's popped pass. Australia quickly responded through a Foley penalty only for Barrett to restore New Zealand's seven-point lead after the Wallabies were penalised from the restart.
Foley was given another opportunity to close the deficit - this time from close to the left touchline after New Zealand failed to roll away - and he was again on target to make it 10-6 with 20 minutes on the clock.
But New Zealand came storming back once again, Barrett coasting through the Australia defence before sending a long pass out to Dagg, who cut back inside for his second try.
Barrett was off target with his conversion attempt and then missed a penalty from the right touchline, allowing Hodge to reduce the deficit to six points with a kick from inside his own half that sailed between the uprights.
Australia survived a 10-minute period either side of half-time without Adam Coleman - who was sin-binned for a late shoulder charge on Ben Smith - but they were powerless to stop New Zealand crossing for their third try on 47 minutes.
Barrett's long flat pass allowed Smith to get on the outside of his defender and send Savea over in the corner.
Barrett converted from the touchline to make it 22-9 but sent a penalty wide after Hodge had done likewise for Australia.
Any hopes the Wallabies had of a comeback were extinguished when Cane powered his way over from close range and Barrett added the extras.
The match became scrappy with the result settled, with Nick Phipps summing up Australia's night by knocking on over the line in the final minute.
"On the scoreboard it looks like we've done it pretty easy, but I don't think anyone would say it was easy out there," coach Steve Hansen said.
"The skill level of our guys was really good and at the moment that's probably where we've got a little bit of an edge."
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