MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA // Fly-half Dan Carter scored one try, set up another and kicked 14 points as New Zealand beat Australia for the eighth straight time with a comprehensive 49-28 Tri Nations win. Australia are now in their worst losing sequence to the All Blacks since New Zealand scored nine consecutive wins against the Wallabies between 1936 and 1947. New Zealand earned a bonus point by half time after scoring four tries in a dominant performance played at a frenetic pace that left the All Blacks with a 32-14 lead at the break.
Mils Muliaina scored either side of the half-time whistle for New Zealand and their captain Richie McCaw, Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko and Corey Flynn also crossing the whitewash. Australia, who played with 14 men for most of the second half after Drew Mitchell was sent off, had tries from Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rocky Elsom, while Matt Giteau kicked 11 points. Australia took the lead after just four minutes when Giteau converted a penalty from just inside the 22, but Carter replied with a penalty of his own just a minute later.
Mitchell put the Wallabies ahead again in the eighth minute when he charged down a Carter clearance 10 metres out and crossed over in the corner. Carter quickly made amends, making an almost identical move two minutes later when he charged down a Berrick Barnes kick inside Australia's 22-metre line and dived over for the try. His conversion made it 10-8 and the All Blacks held on to the lead for the rest of the match.
New Zealand crossed again in the 13th minute when the winger Jane received the ball at the end of a sweeping backline move and chipped ahead on the touch line for fullback Muliaina to score. New Zealand were reduced to 14 men in the 22nd minute when prop Owen Franks was sin-binned for being off-side and a shoulder charge, but Australia failed to capitalise as McCaw swooped on a loose ball and dashed over in the 25th.
After Mitchell was sin-binned in the 28th minute for a shoulder charge, New Zealand scored the fourth try of the half when Jane picked up a Brad Thorn pass and palmed off the Australian No. 8 Richard Brown on his way over the line. Australia's fortunes took another knock just three minutes into the second half when Mitchell was sent off after he picked up his second yellow card. The All Blacks wasted no time taking advantage as Muliaina crossed for his second try in the 47th minute and Joe Rokocoko scored in the 59th.
Australia pulled one back in the 71st minute when their captain Elsom barged over, but the replacement Flynn sealed the win for New Zealand in the final minute. The teams will play again next Saturday in Christchurch, New Zealand. * AP