/ Rugby

Australia 28-49 New Zealand

Updated: Saturday, 31 Jul 2010 14:57

Dan Carter crosses the line for New Zealand's opening try in Melbourne
Dan Carter crosses the line for New Zealand's opening try in Melbourne

New Zealand claimed a record eighth consecutive victory over Australia as they romped to victory in this year's opening Bledisloe Cup clash at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.

Having conceded the opening five-pointer of the night the All Blacks responded with four unanswered tries to take a comfortable 32-14 lead into the break.

Any hopes of a Wallabies fightback were dashed three minutes into the second half when winger Drew Mitchell was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for deliberately slowing down a quick throw-in.

Mils Muliaina celebrated his 30th birthday in fine style with a double, with Dan Carter, man-of-the-match Richie McCaw, Cory Jane, Joe Rokocoko and Corey Flynn also crossing in the seven-tries-to-three triumph.

To their credit the hosts managed two second-half tries through Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rocky Elsom despite being a man down but it was not enough to avoid a heavy defeat.

The win lifts Graham Henry's men to 15 points on the Tri Nations ladder, with the Wallabies trailing on four and the Springboks yet to open their account.

Matt Giteau and Carter traded early penalties but the tries soon flowed in what was to prove a thoroughly entertaining first half.

The Wallabies were first to cross on eight minutes when winger Mitchell charged down Carter's clearing kick for the opening try and an 8-3 advantage.

It took Carter less than a minute to exact revenge as he charged down Berrick Barnes' poor kick and gathered the loose ball to stroll over untouched before adding the extras to give the visitors the lead for the first time.

The All Blacks then extended their advantage on 13 minutes when Muliaina finished a brilliant try.

Winger Jane received the ball on the right flank and delivered a fantastic improvised kick ahead as he fell into touch in a tackle from Elsom to give Muliaina a simple finish for a 15-8 lead.

Giteau trimmed the deficit with his second penalty of the night in the 19th minute, and when All Blacks prop Owen Franks was sent to the bin for a shoulder charge on Richard Brown all the momentum appeared to be with the hosts.

But the All Blacks were next to score when the outstanding McCaw swooped on a loose ball from a Wallaby turnover and scooted 25 metres down the blindside for the try, with Carter's sideline conversion adding further insult.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts when Mitchell was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge of his own on the half-hour, and the visitors made the most of the extra man when Jane crossed in the shadows of half-time to send the All Blacks into the dressing rooms with a commanding 16-point lead.

Mitchell's second yellow effectively ended any hopes of a Wallabies fightback and Muliaina cashed in three minutes later when he went over untouched for his second try of the night, with Carter's conversion making it 39-14.

To their credit the hosts fought back and were finally rewarded for their efforts when Ashley-Cooper scored the Wallabies' first second-half try in six matches against the All Blacks.

But the visitors hit back straight away with a classy score as Rokocoko stretched out to score after a prolonged passage of attacking play.

Captain Elsom got Australia's third try but New Zealand put the seal on an emphatic win when replacement hooker Corey Flynn crashed over as the Wallabies were again overstretched in defence.

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