x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Carter leads All Blacks to a cup clean sweep

New Zealand overcame their own lost-in-translation moment to complete a 4-0 clean sweep in this year's Bledisloe Cup with a 32-19 victory in Tokyo.

New Zealand overcame their own lost-in-translation moment to complete a 4-0 clean sweep in this year's Bledisloe Cup with a 32-19 victory in Tokyo. Richie McCaw's side were trailing at half-time after the South African referee, Mark Lawrence, gave the benefit of doubt to the Wallabies over a try he had originally referred to the television official. Peter Hynes had appeared to spill the ball in the process of grounding it in the corner. Yet, after much dithering and a breakdown in communication between him and the Japanese TV official, Lawrence awarded the try anyway.

It was only a temporary relief for the Australians, however, as a limping Daniel Carter prompted an all too predictable comeback. The fly-half kicked 22 points, while Sitiveni Sivivatu and Conrad Smith both crossed for tries in a comprehensive victory. The All Blacks begin the northern hemisphere leg of their autumn tour with a clash with Wales at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday. McCaw said: "I don't think we lacked motivation at all because we haven't been playing our best rugby, regardless of what happened in the Bledisloe Cup games, and we wanted to start well on what is a big tour.

"We knew the Wallabies would be fired up, but we hung in there and got the points and, in the second half, we got it together." Rocky Elsom, the flanker who was captain for the first time, knows his side need to improve as they take on England next week. "In attack we needed to put seven or eight phases together, then we were looking really good," he said. "We weren't able to do that and it cost us because we needed tries there. We knew the plays that we needed to execute to put the pressure back on them, but we needed to get into the positions to play those. We weren't good enough."

pradley@thenational.ae