x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

New Zealand grind down Australia

A good show from Wallabies is not enough to avoid a seventh straight loss to their trans-Tasman rivals.

Dan Carter had two tries, six penalty goals in a 22-point haul for New Zealand.
Dan Carter had two tries, six penalty goals in a 22-point haul for New Zealand.

New Zealand overcame their own lost-in-translation moment as the so-called the 'Rumble in the Rice Bowl' turned into a 32-19 victory for the All Blacks in Tokyo. Richie McCaw's side were trailing at half-time after the South African referee, Mark Lawrence, controversially 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 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 New Zealand fly-half kicked 22 points, while Sitiveni Sivivatu and Conrad Smith both crossed for tries to give the All Blacks a comprehensive success. McCaw's side begin the northern hemisphere leg of their autumn tour with a mouth-watering clash with Wales at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday. The captain 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."

Australia's grand slam tour starts against England at Twickenham on Saturday and gets progressively tougher from there. Rocky Elsom, the flanker who was captain for the first time, knows his side need to improve. "It was pretty obvious we just needed to put some phases together. In attack we needed to put seven or eight phases together, then we were looking really good. "We weren't able to do that and it cost us because we really needed tries there. "We knew the plays that we needed to execute to put the pressure right back on them, but we needed to get into the positions to play those. We weren't good enough." @Email:pradley@thenational.ae