The 2013 Bledisloe Cup started in ferocious fashion with a tightly fought battle. Australia and New Zealand remained neck-and-neck for the first half, but the All Black's immense attacking power eventually saw the visitors move clear of Australia's threat to win 47-29.
Let's take a look at the Game 1 score and recap.Cruden's brilliant flicked pass to set an early score, as tweeted by ESPN:
Christian Lealiifano, who has so often been Australia's top player this year, got the home side back in the game with a penalty goal. This came with nine minutes elapsed and after Jesse Mogg missed an earlier chance to set the Aussies rolling.
A fast start was defined by both teams being able to reply to each other's score. Lealiifano and Cruden notched further penalties, making the score to 10-9 to New Zealand after 22 minutes. Australia's shining light kept his decent form going with a fourth penalty that would see the team grab a 12-10 lead after 27 minutes.
Unfortunately for the home side, Lealiifano was quickly charged down when kicking clear. Cruden hastily covered major ground to send the ball spiralling towards the Australian line. He watched and waited before putting his weight on the ball to move the All Blacks 17-12 ahead.
Richie McCaw has just scored his 20th international try - frankly ridiculous for a forward in rugby— Sean Fay (@Sean_Fay) August 17, 2013
Richie McCaw's long-awaited return soon saw the skipper score on his reappearance in Test rugby. His dive into the corner rounded off an incisive forward move from a side that gained momentum with two quick tries.
With 37 minutes gone, a stunning individual try from Will Genia set the match alight. A loose lineout saw Genia snatch possession and absolutely blitz through the New Zealand defence at incredible speed. The Queensland Reds' player maintained his balance from a flying tackle and neatly slotted between the All Blacks' final two defenders for a try that will amount to a series highlight.
Cruden slotted away another penalty just as the break approached, giving New Zealand a 25-19 lead heading into the second half.
The Wallabies got exactly what they needed at the beginning of the restart and replicated the All Blacks' quick score from the previous 40 minutes. A continued period of pressure was rounded off with another Lealiifano penalty bringing the home side to within three points at 25-22.
Unfortunately for the packed ANZ Stadium, the All Blacks then burst into life with a flurry of points. Conrad Smith made continuous attacking pressure count by crossing the line for New Zealand's first points of the second half.
Cruden kicked the conversion, and before long, the gap was at 10. The game was all but over when Ben Smith racked up his second try, with Cruden hitting the upright with his conversion. A 15-point lead was unassailable at this point, but New Zealand continued to press.
All Blacks too good tonight. Credit to McCaw and team. Classy performance...— David Pocock (@pocockdavid) August 17, 2013
Another Cruden penalty made the score 40-22. McCaw reminded everyone of his monstrous talents with an interception from a testing Izzy Folau pass, with Cruden soon coming off for a break. Has he justified a place in the starting line-up, or will Dan Carter return once fit? The answer is likely to upset Cruden, who performed fantastically.
Ben Smith's smart interception and subsequent run saw him confirm a brilliant hat-trick. Beauden Barrett made no mistake from the conversion to make 47-22.
Australia had time to reduce the deficit with three minutes left on the clock, but James O'Connor's try was not enough to see the Wallabies get close to the All Blacks' total. Lealiifano converted, but the score finished at 47-29.
It's advantage All Blacks after a scintillating performance in the Bledisloe Cup opener. The next encounter takes place at the WestPac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand on August 24.
Can Australia mount a famous comeback, or will the terrifying All Blacks power continue to steamroller their opponents?