The gap between New Zealand and Australian rugby was laid bare yet again as the All Blacks cruised to a 38-21 win over the Wallabies in Perth despite copping a controversial red card.
The All Blacks were dealt a huge blow in the 28th minute of Sunday’s match when fullback Jordie Barrett was given a red card for a studs-to-the-face incident on Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete.
Barrett had leapt to catch a high kick and thrust out his right leg as he was coming down to the turf in order to protect himself.
His studs crashed into the face of Koroibete, who slumped to the turf in pain.
Trailing 13-0 at the time, the Wallabies needed to make the most of the numerical advantage they would have for the next 20 minutes while Barrett was off the field.
Instead it was the All Blacks who pounced, with a powerful rolling maul allowing inside centre David Havili to cross just seconds before half-time.
The Wallabies didn’t score their first points until a 50th-minute try to hooker Folau Fainga’a.
Despite being without stars Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga due to paternity leave, the All Blacks ran in six tries to three to secure the win in front of 52,724 fans at Optus Stadium.
The Wallabies conceded another two intercept tries – following on from the three they gave up across the opening two Tests of the Bledisloe Cup series in Auckland.
Australia will now lick its wounds before fronting up to world champions South Africa on the Gold Coast next Sunday as the Rugby Championship campaign continues.
The All Blacks kicked two penalties to open proceedings on Sunday, and Beauden Barrett set up the first try in the 17th minute with a perfectly-weighted grubber kick that sliced open the Wallabies’ defence.
Winger Will Jordan pounced on the bouncing ball, and two sharp offloads later Jordie Barrett crossed unopposed.
The Wallabies looked set to finally put some points on the board in the 28th minute when they were awarded a penalty just 22m out and almost directly in front.
But flyhalf Noah Lolesio missed the easy shot, bringing back memories of his horror kicking display in the Bledisloe Cup opener.
The red card to Jordie Barrett gave the Wallabies hope, and Koroibete thought he had a try when he scrambled over from a rolling maul.
But it was deemed Koroibete had made a double movement in reaching for the line.
It was a cruel blow for the star winger, who had also had a try ruled out in the opening minutes of the match after inside centre Samu Kerevi had picked up the ball from an offside position.
The Wallabies were unable to score any points during the 20 minutes New Zealand were down to 14 men.
But just moments after the All Blacks were back to their full complement, a smart break from scrumhalf Tate McDermott set up the home side’s opener in the 50th minute.
With the margin back to 11 points there was hope of an upset, but it was quickly snuffed out by All Blacks flanker Akira Ioane, who broke three tackles in a powerful run before offloading to Will Jordan for an easy try.
Then came the intercept tries.
A wayward pass from lock Matt Philip was picked off by David Havili, who ran 80m with Kerevi in hot pursuit to touch down.
The other intercept try came in the 72nd minute, when reserve scrumhalf TJ Perenara picked off a pass and made an important burst before unleashing a cross-field kick for George Bridge to cross.