All Blacks off to winning start
Ill-disciplined Wallabies struggle to breach All Black defence
By Simon Dilger. Last Updated: 18/08/12 3:13pm
New Zealand clinched a 27-19 victory over Australia in the Rugby Championship curtain-raiser in Sydney on Saturday.
First half tries from Israel Dagg and Corey Jane plus 17 points from the boot of Dan Carter got the All Blacks off to a winning start in the opening match of the new tournament at the ANZ Stadium.
Nathan Sharpe went over for the Wallabies and Berrick Barnes slotted four penalties and a conversion in a match that saw the New Zealand defence prove too strong for the home side.
The All Blacks dominated the opening period and it was only in the dying seconds of the half that Sharpe to give his side a much needed lifeline
The second half became a battle of the boots as Carter and Barnes exchanged penalties. But it was the Kiwi stand-off who had the final say when he slotted his fifth penalty with the last kick of the match.
Barnes put Australia in front in the third minute with a penalty after the All Blacks were penalised at an Aussie attacking scrum in front of their posts.
Carter made it three apiece eight minutes later though, after the Wallabies were pinged for an infringement at the ruck.
And just two minutes later the All Black playmaker was right at the centre of things to put Dagg over for the opening try.
Carter fed Dagg just outside 22 and the full-back sprinted around the Australian defence, side-stepping Kurtley Beale on his way to score out on the left.
The number 10 added the extras and six minutes later Ben Robinson handed the visitors an absolute sitter when he was penalised right in front of his posts.
The fly-half needed little encouragement to pop his kick over from the 22 and take his side's lead to 13-3 as Australia continued to struggle with poor discipline.
The Wallabies' woes worsened when, six minutes before the break, the Kiwi backs punished some poor defensive awareness with the second try.
With Beale stood in way too close from the touchline for an All Black scrum inside Australia's 22, Aaron Smith fired the ball along the line to Dagg.
Despite having the numbers on the right to contain the threat, Beale's poor field position saw Jane staring at a gaping hole out wide and Dagg's pass gave him a simple run-in.
Carter missed his touchline conversion attempt to leave the score on 18-3 but with just seconds left of the first half the Wallabies finally managed to hit back.
Digby Ioane's run made good ground to take the home side deep into the New Zealand 22 and, after he was brought down inches short, Sharpe crashed over from close range.
Barnes added the extras to make it 18-10 and take his side into the break trailing by eight.
Barnes closed the gap to five with a penalty four minutes after the restart when Kieran Read was caught offside.
But their discipline deserted them again moments later and Carter was able to cancel out the points with an easy kick under the posts.
Barnes however was bang on target with a superb long-range penalty on the 50-minute mark to take the score to 16-21 and keep the Wallabies in touch.
But 12 minutes later Carter re-established the eight-point buffer with another simple kick as Australia continued to infringe in front of their posts.
Adam Ashley-Cooped denied Hosea Gear with a last-ditch tackle in the corner with just over 12 minutes to go and Beale pulled three back six minutes later to close the gap again to five points.
Carter had the last laugh when the Aussies were again penalised deep inside their own 22 and slotted another simple effort to bring about a close to proceedings.