International Rugby

Brilliant Barrett buries brilliant Australia

Beauden Barrett broke the hearts of Australia with a late score as the All Blacks won in Dunedin to retain the Bledisloe Cup and win another Rugby Championship match.

The All Blacks won 35-29 in a remarkable and brilliant Test match that was in contrast to the one-sided New Zealand win in Sydney a week ago.

Barrett, with two tries and five conversions, ended with 20 points.

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau scored from an intercept in the second minute and the visitors added two more tries in the next quarter of an hour to lead 17-0. It took the World Champion All Blacks an hour to restore order and take the lead but the drama only intensified in this 10-try thriller as first the Wallabies looked to have won the game when Kurtley Beale scored a converted try with three minutes to go.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read was magnificent in winning back the kick-off in the 78th minute and was again influential later in the movement in setting up Barrett’s match-winning and Bledisloe Cup series-clinching try with just a minute to go.

Both teams scored five tries and both teams enjoyed points-scoring surges. The Wallabies got 17 without reply in the first quarter and then the All Blacks scored 21 points without conceding a point. The best action in a match that was all-out action came in the final 10 minutes when the Wallabies went ahead 22-21 through the impressive Will Genia, the All Blacks responded 28-22 after taking the ball through 22 phases, the Wallabies hit back through the brilliance of Kurtley Beale to edge ahead 29-28 with less than three minutes to go.

And then finally, the All Blacks showed their class and attacking genius to finish off the Test through Barrett’s converted try.

Australia still had one minute in which to produce the most sensational of closures to the Test match but New Zealand’d composure won the last 60 seconds. They kept the ball tight, Australian captain Michael Hooper was penalised and the 80 minutes of high intensity was ended with a tap and kick into touch.

Australia were brilliant in attack and brave on defence. Beale and Genia rolled back the glory years and seemed to have done enough to influence a stunning and famous win. It was not to be and Read, when his team needed it most, rose to the occasion in what will be remembered as one of the great Bledisloe Cup Tests.

Individually there was much to admire in the performance of so many, but collectively it was a case of the brutality and menace of the  All Blacks forwards against the attacking heartbeat of the Wallabies backs.

The Wallabies, in Sydney and in Dunedin, scored seven unanswered tries against the All Blacks, but even that could not secure victory in either contest. The All Blacks scored 13 tries in the two Tests to the Wallabies nine and the Bledisloe Cup is safe in New Zealand for another year.

New Zealand 35 (R. Ioane, A. Smith, B. Barrett (2), B. Smith tries; B. Barrett 5 cons)
Australia 29 (I. Folau, M. Hooper, B. Foley, W. Genia, K. Beale tries; B. Foley 2 cons)

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