New Zealand beats Australia 38-21 to sweep Bledisloe series

·3-min read

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The All Blacks played for 20 minutes with 14 men, lost their captain to injury but still beat the Wallabies 38-21 in the third Bledisloe Cup test on Sunday to sweep the three-match series 3-0.

Fullback Jordie Barrett became the sixth All Black to be sent off in a test match when he was shown a red card in the 17th minute, in what was one of the most contentious refereeing decisions in recent internationals.

Barrett soared high to claim a Wallabies kick, extended his leg before landing and in doing so made glancing contact with the face of Wallabies winger Marika Koribete. After considering replays and the advice of the television official, Australian referee Damon Murphy sent Barrett from the field.

The contact appeared to be not intentional and Barrett, as the player in the air, was entitled under rugby’s rules to every protection from any player on the ground. Koroibete who had run towards Barrett easily could have been sanctioned for making contact with him.

Under the peculiar rules of the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship, the All Blacks were able to replace Barrett after 20 minutes and, in a world first, Damian McKenzie became the first substitute for a red-carded player.

New Zealand’s troubles became more severe when it lost first-time captain Ardie Savea and hooker Codie Taylor to head injuries in the first half. In the face of all of those setbacks it steadily increased its lead to follow up its 33-25 and 57-22 wins over the Wallabies in the first two Bledisloe Cup test matches.

It was already without regular captain Sam Whitelock and its usual halves pairing of Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga. All three players remained in New Zealand with the All Blacks team traveled to Australia because their wives are expecting.

“We came over here, had to do quarantine and we just had to stick to our processes and do our jobs,” Savea said. “We’re missing all our teammates back at home. It just shows the depth of our team and the guys who are here came out and got us home.”

New Zealand led 13-0 when Jordie Barrett was sent from the field. In one of the defining moments of the match, New Zealand scored the next try through center David Havili from a lineout drive in which forwards and backs became involved.

It took an 18-0 lead to halftime and, though Australia hit back with a try to Folau Fainga’a, the All Blacks extended their lead quickly with a try to winger Will Jordan.

The match was taken beyond Australia’s grasp in the 60th minute when Havili scored again from an intercept. With the All Black’s stretched to breaking point, Havili grabbed a loose pass and dashed almost 80 meters to score with Samu Kerevi in close pursuit.

In was the fourth intercept try the All Blacks have scored against the Wallabies in the Bledisloe series: one in the first test, two in the second and another Sunday which impacted Australia’s morale at a critical moment.

Another followed quickly. Replacement scrumhalf T.J. Perenara grabbed a Wallabies pass while in defense and fired a long cross-kick to George Bridge who, unmarked near the left touch, dashed more than 60 meters to score.

Beauden Barrett, returning to the No. 10 jersey, was outstanding in the first half, providing a clever kick to create the All Blacks’ first try. Backrower Akira Ioane was superb in the second half and set up tries for Jordan and center Anton Lientert-Brown.

“At face value, our turnovers led to mistake,” Australia captain Michael Hooper said. “New Zealand is really good at the turnover stuff. We were doing so much good, then ending up under our sticks.”

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