The All Blacks have further stamped their dominance on the rugby world with a 49-28 victory over Australia in Melbourne. The game was played at a fast pace and flowed well with both teams looking to attack, playing a very positive style of rugby. The two teams traded penalties in the first five minutes to take the score to 3-3.
Then came one of the most bizarre sequences of play you'll ever see. After taking the ball from the kick off, the All Blacks passed the ball back to Daniel Carter to clear. Carter had his kick charged by Drew Mitchell who regathered and scored in the corner. Then only a minute later Daniel Carter charged Berrick Barnes clearing kick, regathering to score.
This set the mood of the game and ironically, showed that when both these sides did decide to kick, they were met with negative consequences.
It only took the All Blacks a few minutes more to touch down again after a perfectly executed centering kick from Cory Jane was regathered Mils Muliaina who touched down to take the score to 15-8.
After losing Owen Franks to the sin bin for a shoulder charge, the All Blacks lifted their game to another level, as Richie McCaw scored a superb try which came from a well placed kick by Carter and a great chase from Conrad Smith and Joe Rokocoko.
The Wallabies then lost a man of their own, in Drew Mitchell which was to prove costly as Cory Jane touched down on his wing only minutes later to secure the All Blacks third bonus point in as many games.
With the score at 32-14 at half time, the game was effectively over. The All Blacks had all the momentum and the Wallabies struggled defensively.
To make matters worse for Australia, Drew Mitchell was given a second yellow card two minutes into the second half, which meant they would be playing with 14 men for the rest of the game. To their credit though, they fought hard in the second half and looked better when they only had 14 men on the park. This was reflected in a 17-14 second half scoreline which included two Wallaby tries.
However, they couldn't stop the All Blacks who through Joe Rokocoko, Mils Muliaina and Corey Flynn added another three tries to their tally, taking the final score to 49-28.
The game was won up front by the All Blacks whose loose forward trio of Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read was outstanding and would all have to be considered to be the world's form players in their positions.
Tom Donnelly continues to go from strength to strength and Brad Thorn made his presence felt as always. Keven Mealamu is looking very good this year and would now have to be considered the top hooker in New Zealand.
Daniel Carter was his usual excellent self, directing play well and making all the right decisions while the midfield pairing of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith further showed why many consider them to be the number one midfield in the world.
Mils Muliaina continues to have his best year in a black jersey while Cory Jane and Joe Rokocoko were both dangerous with ball in hand scoring a try a piece.
For Australia, David Pocock was very effective around the breakdown, effecting a number of turnovers. However he lacked any real backing from the rest of his forward pack who were out-muscled by a very physical All Blacks pack.
Will Genia was dangerous whenever he chose to run it and formed a good halfback-first five combination with Matt Giteau.
The focus will now turn to next week where the two sides will meet again in Christchurch in what is a must-win game for Australia if they are to keep their hopes of winning the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002 alive. One would think that the All Blacks will once again be too strong, but anything can happen in a week in a competition like the Tri-Nations and the Wallabies will undoubtedly be up for what will be a huge challenge.