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September 22, 2017

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All Blacks show no mercy in 51-20 rout of Wallabies

AUCKLAND, New Zealand--A rampant All Blacks produced a six-try blitz in a ruthless display to shatter the Wallabies by a record 51-20 at Eden Park on Saturday.

It was the highest score ever posted by the All Blacks against the Wallabies as they buried memories of last week's Sydney stalemate.

They also ensured they retained the Bledisloe Cup, contested between the trans-Tasman rivals, for a 12th consecutive year.

As the Wallabies struggled to cope with sustained pressure, the All Blacks were out to a 44-6 lead with 20 minutes to play before allowing the Australians in for two tries.

It was a remarkable turnaround by the All Blacks who appeared ponderous and short of ideas in the 12-12 draw a week ago in the Sydney rain.

The Australians fancied their chances of breaking the Eden Park hoodoo following that stalemate, but on a hard, dry ground they found themselves out-muscled in the forwards and run ragged in the backs.

They had the best possible start, rocking the All Blacks with a penalty from the kick off which Kurtley Beale converted to have them ahead 3-0 inside the first minute.

It was to be the only time the Wallabies would be in front as Aaron Cruden regained the lead with two penalties for the All Blacks before the game changed dramatically when referee Romain Poite tired of straight penalties and went for the cards.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw was first off early in the game and Ben Franks went at the end, both for cynical infringements, as the World champions copped their 10th and 11th yellow cards in their past 13 matches.

Just as McCaw was about to retake the field, Poite sent Australian lock Rob Simmons off for 10 minutes and the Wallabies suffered most while a man down.

With McCaw off the field it was a penalty apiece, but with Simmons absent the All Blacks piled on 14 points from two converted tries and the Wallabies never recovered.

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