All Blacks crush Wallabies to storm into final

All Blacks crush Wallabies to storm into final

New Zealand stormed into the Rugby World Cup final on home soil with a dominant 20-6 victory over Australia at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday.In front of a parochial and frenzied crowd of 60,087, the All Blacks dominated from the opening whistle and scored the only try of the contest in the sixth minute through Ma’a Nonu to take a deserved 14-6 lead at the interval.

Piri Weepu extended the advantage with a penalty goal in the 43rd minute before the Wallabies started to work their way into the contest.

Despite enjoy their share of territory and possession the Wallabies produced untimely handling errors and could find no way through the physically dominant hosts to remain scoreless in the second half.

Weepu landed the final blow with his fourth penalty goal from seven attempts in the 73rd minute after the All Blacks monstered the Wallabies scrum to put the contest beyond doubt.

James O’Connor kicked one penalty from as many attempts for Australia while Quade Cooper landed a drop goal on the half hour.

It was another tough day at the office for public enemy No.1 Cooper, while the Wallabies were outmuscled at the breakdown by the utterly impressive All Blacks.

New Zealand will take on France in the final next Saturday, while the Wallabies will play Wales in the playoff for third and fourth on Friday.

Australia made the worst possible start when Cooper sent the opening kick-off out on the full.

New Zealand dominated the opening minutes and were rewarded when Nonu scored the first try after electrifying full-back Israel Dagg jetted through a hole left by Rocky Elsom and Anthony Fainga’a and delivered a miraculous one-armed flick inside for Nonu.

Weepu missed the sideline conversion and a close-range penalty attempt four minutes later but adjusted his radar in the 13th minute after David Pocock was pinged at the breakdown.

O’Connor answered with a penalty goal three minutes later to cut the deficit to 8-3 after bullocking winger Digby Ioane produced a strong run to put his side on attack for the first time in the contest.

Weepu missed another penalty attempt from 40m before Aaron Cruden slotted a long-range drop goal for 11-3.

Australia suffered an early setback when prop Sekope Kepu was forced from the field with a leg injury, while Cooper’s recent struggles continued with an error-riddled first 30 minutes.

The mercurial fly-half nailed a confidence-boosting drop goal on the half-hour to trim the deficit to 11-6 before Weepu restored his side’s eight-point buffer at the break with a late penalty goal.

Weepu was on target again three minutes in after Pat McCabe became isolated in front of his own posts.

Sonny Bill Williams’ late cameo ended in disappointment when he was yellow carded for a shoulder charge on Cooper, but the result was already beyond all doubt.