New Zealand thrash Australia to put one hand on Rugby Championship title

South Africa need to secure a bonus point and beat Argentina by at least 39 points

New Zealand 40 Australia 14

The All Blacks put one hand on the Rugby Championship trophy with a convincing 40-14 bonus-point victory over an error-prone and ill-disciplined Wallabies side at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.

The victory means the Springboks will also need to secure a bonus point and beat Argentina by at least 39 points in the final match of the championship in Durban later on Saturday to take the title back to South Africa.

New Zealand hammered the Australians at the breakdown and a Will Jordan score supplemented by a penalty try helped them to a comfortable 17-0 lead after a fractious first half which saw two Wallabies sent to the sin bin.

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All Blacks skipper Sam Whitelock crossed for a third try soon after the break and hooker Codie Taylor and his replacement Samisoni Taukei'aho added further five-pointers to seal a third win a row in what has been a stop-start season.

“Really, really happy with the defence [and] it was nice to put some good moments on moments there,” said lock Whitelock.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do all the time and it’s nice when it starts to happen.”

The Wallabies scored consolation tries through replacements Folau Fainga'a and Jordan Petaia in the last quarter of the match but never looked like breaking their 36-year winless streak against the All Blacks at Eden Park.

“Two yellow cards in the first half really put us on the back foot,” said captain James Slipper.

“That's a very disappointing outcome for us. Far too much dropped ball and too many penalties put us under pressure. It just wasn't good enough.”

The Wallabies, who had a mathematical shot at the title going into the match, reprised their boomerang response to the haka but otherwise fell well short of the standards they set in last week’s 39-37 loss to the All Blacks in Melbourne.

Lock Jed Holloway was shown a yellow card in the third minute for a dangerous clean-out and the visitors were back to 15 men for only four minutes before Dave Porecki was sent to cool his heels for 10 minutes after collapsing a rolling maul.

The referee awarded a penalty try for the hooker's offence to extend a lead already starting to look imposing after winger Jordan had glided through a stretched Wallabies defence to touch down.

Whitelock was perhaps fortunate to be awarded the third try just after the break as he wrestled with Angus Bell for the ball under the posts but there was no denying Taylor's score in the 54th minute on the back of a juggernaut of a rolling maul.

Taukei’aho, who replaced Taylor, got his third try in two weeks after another catch and drive in the 65th minute and after that it was just a matter of how much of a target they could set the South Africans.