All Blacks vs Wallabies: Yellow card strikes again in Bledisloe Cup sweep

Another yellow card helped the All Blacks secure a Bledisloe Cup sweep of Australia, with a 37-20 victory in a 'dead' rubber in Yokohama, Japan.

The two-time reigning world champions had their backs against the wall early in the second half, leading only 17-13, before first-five Beauden Barrett extended the lead to double figures with a try in the 59th minute.

At that point, the Wallabies still had a sniff, but that was all but extinguished, when referee Romain Poite expelled hooker Tolu Latu for striking opposite Codie Taylor in the face with an open hand.

Three minutes later, wing Ben Smith pounced on a loose pass from Israel Folau to put the result beyond doubt.

While Australia struck back through Israel Folau with five minutes remaining, momentum had swung beyond their reach and wing Rieko Ioane was able to grab one back for the All Blacks in the dying moments. 

New Zealand struck first through a try to flanker Liam Squire in the 12th minute, before Wallabies centre Kurtley Beale kick a long-range penalty to close the margin.

Captain Kieran Read had a try to extend the lead to double figures just before half-time, as the players looked to the side-lines for a break, Sefa Naivalu bullocked over in the corner to bring the Aussies within reach. 

They were also next to score after the restart, with first-five Bernard Foley slotting a penalty.

Even after Barrett had extended the margin with his brilliantly taken try off a well-rehearsed scrum move, Australia were still in the fight, but that changed when they were reduced to 14 men.

Latu had been unable to gather a low pass from Dane Haylett-Petty at the end of a promising movement. Moments later, Taylor gave him a shove to remind him of his shortcomings and Latu foolishly retaliated.

After review, Poite ruled that Taylor had offended, but Latu's response saw the penalty reversed and the second offender yellow-carded.

Smith's try sealed the deal and Ioane continued his incredible run of international tries before the final whistle.

"I was really proud of how we started the game," reflected Read afterwards. "It was just a good, tough test match and we managed to keep ourselves in front, which was awesome.

"I felt we were really able to control the game - we're a good enough side - and a few of those boys scored tries out wide, which certainly helps us.

"We felt our defence was really good tonight, so once we got in front and they tried to play their way out, we managed to keep them at bay."

Many of this All Blacks squad will now fly to England to prepare for the European stage of this tour. Those that remain will be bolstered by 19 others arriving in Japan this weekend to face the home side in Tokyo next Saturday.


Join us at 6:45pm next Saturday for live updates of All Blacks vs Japan in Tokyo.