All Black Liam Squire aims to improve after impressive display against Wallabies
21 August 2017, 06:13 | Isaac Mcdaniel
MAARTEN HOLL FAIRFAX NZ
NZR chief executive Steve Tew
The All Blacks had conceded a drawn series to the British and Irish Lions, the backline was changed again, and off-field issues involving bugging, Aaron Smith, and Jerome Kaino were potentially distracting.
Squire's score showed early on the gulf between Australia and New Zealand in the skills department, with their forwards as dynamic as any of their backs.
RECORD SCORE! The #AllBlacks have broken their previous highest score of 51 against Australia.
It was a point-a-minute first half that killed off the tackle-shy Wallabies and all but ended their meagre hopes of winning back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2003.
"It's nice to play in when it's coming off like that", All Blacks captain Kieran Read said.
The eight tries to four thrashing came after the Wallabies, for the second year straight, had a month to prepare for the match.
Instead, they compounded the impression that the sport in Australia is in disarray - and New Zealand should have won more convincingly.
"The Wallabies missed a staggering 40 percent (37 from 94) of all tackles in the first half and there will be vast pressure on defence coach Nathan Grey, given what the Waratahs dished up this year too", he wrote.
"It was pretty plain to see that our defence wasn't good enough at all", Cheika said.
"It's not attitude. It's maybe that little bit of doubt creeps in", Cheika told reporters after Saturday's loss.
"I think we probably got a little seduced by the scoreboard and went away from the fundamentals of what we wanted to do".
Liam Squire had them in front 10 minutes in with the first of 12 tries on the day, but two Bernard Foley penalties kept Australia in the hunt at 7-6.
It got no better with fullback Damian McKenzie scoring his first Test try three minutes after the resumption and Barrett's sixth conversion extended the lead to 47-6.
It has been a testing week for the visitors, after their governing body announced it would investigate claims Aaron Smith misled a disciplinary case previous year, while the security guard at the heart of the "bug-gate" scandal - where it was alleged a listening device was found at the All Blacks' hotel prior to facing Australia in Sydney 12 months ago - was cleared of a charge of public mischief at a magistrate's court.
"We just took our foot off the throat a bit", Read said.
The margin could have been bigger had the All Blacks not shut up shop midway through the second half, which allowed the Wallabies to add some respectability to the scoreboard by notching four tries. "It's not often you come here and put 50 points on the Wallabies".
It is highly unlikely the Wallabies will challenge the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday night.
Cheika still had faith his side could do it. "Once he's dealt with that, we'll make some decisions".
"There's no one-two step process for that type of stuff, that comes down to a deep belief between players".
"I was excited and the boys really got around me throughout the week and they said, 'be yourself and just play your game, ' and I managed to do that at some stages and obviously a lot to work on for next week".
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