Wallabies humiliated in 23-year low
Last week, the Wallabies were riding high, but at Eden Park, the All Blacks have given Australia an almighty reality check.
A 36-0 drubbing at the Kiwis' spiritual home has sent a warning shot ahead of the World Cup.
The win sees the Kiwis retain the Bledisloe Cup. As the reigning champions, New Zealand holds onto the trophy after this year's two-match series was locked at one-all.
Here are the talking points from the second Bledisloe Cup match.
If New Zealand are ever going to play anywhere after a loss, they must want it to be Eden Park.
The Auckland ground has once again proved to be the fortress of nightmares in World Rugby with the All Blacks continuing a 25-year domination at the ground.
The last time the side lost at Eden Park was 1994 with a record of 41 wins and two draws in that time.
While the Wallabies tried to stay with the All Blacks in the first half, New Zealand grow an extra leg at the ground and hit back after the record loss in Perth last week.
Not content with just beating Australia, the Kiwis humiliated the Aussies, holding the side scoreless for just the second time in any Test since 1973.
The 36-point win was also the second biggest winning margin in Bledisloe history after the Kiwis' 43-6 victory in Wellington 23 years ago in 1996.
The All Blacks have now claimed the Bledisloe Cup for the 47th time (48th if you count the drawn series in 1952), 17th time straight and continue the 33-year stranglehold over the Wallabies at Eden Park, who last won at the ground in 1986.
WALLABIES FANS CLUTCH AT STRAWS
Can we pretend that game didn't just happen?
The Bledisloe bloodbath in Eden Park has given the Wallabies a shattering reminder that there is a reason the All Blacks have been the best in the world since 2009.
The complete demolition has led fans to despair after a week of living large in the hope the Wallabies had turned a corner and the All Blacks era may be over.
Both were proved wrong.
One optimistic or sarcastic fan - it's hard to tell on Twitter - said the limp 36-0 loss could be an act of genius.
It goes with what Wallabies legend David Campese told news.com.au earlier in the week, although he wouldn't have been expecting such a scoreline.
"I think it (winning the Bledisloe Cup) would take the pressure off them a bit but you've still got the World Cup so does that mean you're favourites in a World Cup, is it a tag you really want?" Campese said. "But you still want to go into a World Cup confident."
It was a tough lesson for the Wallabies, with coach Michael Cheika even saying "sorry" to Fox Sports' George Gregan and Justin Harrison.
On air, Cheika said the loss hurt the Wallabies players.
"We feel really disappointed we let a lot of people down," he admitted.
But the fans were quick to fall off the Wallabies bandwagon after the loss.
I honestly do not know why I emotionally invest in the Wallabies. #BledisloeCup— Jonathan Lea (@JonathanLea10) August 17, 2019
That was a scary, scary statement from the All Blacks, 36-0 winners over Australia, keeping the #BledisloeCup for a 17th straight year. Wallabies were demolished in contact— Jamie Pandaram (@JamiePandaram) August 17, 2019
Oh man there are some people engaging reverse reeeeeaaaaal quick after this test. #NZLvAUS— Scotty Stevenson (@sumostevenson) August 17, 2019
Some were even just up for living in the past.
Last week, what a time to be alive that was.
ALL BLACKS NOT A SPENT FORCE
A week of All Blacks bashing has backfired on Australia with New Zealand taking revenge on the Wallabies.
Not only did the world's No. 1 side beat Australia, they humiliated the side by keeping the Wallabies to zero.
But the Kiwi media weren't about to salivate over the performance with the World Cup on the horizon.
Stuff.co.nz's called the win "revenge", while the New Zealand Herald's Liam Napier wrote the All Blacks "are not unbeatable - nor are they (in) irreversible free-fall".
Fellow Herald sports writer Gregor Paul said "The good news is that the All Blacks are not entirely broken. The bad news is they are not entirely fixed either."
But it was a big performance from the All Blacks who had been slammed during the week by the Australian media for being "old and slow".
The Daily Telegraph fired the first shot with photos of the All Blacks put through FaceApp.
Then former Wallaby and media commentator Peter FitzSimons questioned the All Blacks' reliance on players over 30.
"They humiliated those poor All Blacks and it was good for rugby," FitzSimons said on Newstalk ZB radio.
"Sonny Bill Williams is 34, how's Sonny Bill going to go up against James O'Connor? The All Blacks just looked old and slow."
The All Blacks proved they aren't a spent force with a brilliant performance at their spiritual home and the fans on both sides of the ditch were all over it.
Reports of the @AllBlacks death have been greatly exaggerated— Will Hine (@MisterHine) August 17, 2019
And just like that, World Rugby And the Bledisloe goes back to script. 36-0. Well done @AllBlacks Emphatic reply. Too much class. Too much skill. Props @qantaswallabies for keeping it interesting in Perth. #BledisloeCup #rwc #allblacks #Wallabies— Robert Grasso (@RobertGrasso) August 17, 2019
Glad we spent all that time dedicating the hottest of takes to the All Blacks being over.— Sacha Judd (@szechuan) August 17, 2019
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper said it was unfortunate not to be able to go to a third game in 2019.
"New Zealand played a great game, they controlled possession and we had some good chances, took a couple of shots at goal and were close to getting over the line," he said. "But they played some good wet weather footy tonight, picked up the balls on the ground, made the most of those loose sort of plays and a lot of their tries came from good transition work. So hats off to them, they're a different beast down here.
"We've been building but that's a hit to us not to get any points on the board. Really disappointing. We'll have to have a think about our mentality and our on field play as well to secure and hold possession more."
WEATHER TAKES ITS TOLL
From Perth, the land where it rarely rains, to Auckland and the Land of the Long White Cloud, the Wallabies were shell-shocked in the first half.
Reportedly a picturesque day before game time, the heavens opened up and made life tough for both teams.
The open attacking match of seven days ago was replaced with a slug-fest with the forwards having to put in the hard yards in the middle of the field.
Even the rare break from a back was difficult with the slick surface seeing speedster dragged towards the sideline like they were on a sheet of ice.
It was a tough night for the goalkickers as well as the All Blacks Richie Mo'unga kicked an early penalty goal but the Wallabies couldn't respond.
Two shots at goal from Christian Lealiifano both missed, making the job all the harder, despite not being the most difficult kicks.
Post match, Fox Sports' Nick McArdle said the goals may have changed the game with scoreboard pressure.
"To be honest, it does change the game just in the sense that you get reward for your effort," Will Genia said. "You probably feel a little down because you haven't capitalised. But the guy never misses so you're never going to blame him."
The game then changed on a dime as the All Blacks exploded on the back of a Reece Hodge drop a tough pass from Kurtley Beale with Mo'unga running away for the first try untouched.
The All Blacks then made advantage of broken play with Beauden Barrett putting George Bridge through a gap, who put fly half Aaron Smith over for the second try just three minutes later.
The weather struck once more in the half with Mo'unga, who had three from three, missed his second penalty shot as the All Blacks went to the break at 17-0.
It was far from ideal conditions for the Wallabies' new style.
ALL BLACKS BACK WALLABIES FOR WORLD CUP
Just so it's not all doom and gloom for Australia, there was a strong vote of confidence from an unlikely source.
Maybe feeling sorry for the Wallabies after his team just pummelled them, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he wanted Australia to win the World Cup … if New Zealand doesn't.
"It's a lot better than it was last week. The lesson you've got to learn is that if you've got a bit of rugby talent, you've got to turn up with the right attitude," Hansen said.
"I would like to wish Australia all the best too. Whilst we have some fierce battles, we do enjoy them, they're good men and they're very similar to ourselves. So if we can't win, we'd like them to."
For Australia, it's not the end of the World Cup hopes with the setback not ideal but definitely better to happen now rather than during the showpiece tournament.
"I think we're still in a good place," Will Genia said. "We're playing some good rugby, we're building, we're not the finished product and I think that was really emphasised by the boss last week, to the media but more importantly to the group, and we've got to have faith and trust in how we're playing the game and just trying to build."
Similarly, Michael Cheika said the Wallabies are still building towards the cup.
"I'm not worried. Footy's that kind of thing where you know what your team's building, what they've got," Cheika said.
"You get punched in the face sometimes, you get hit hard, and it's how you get back up.
"In 2015, we took a lot from the game here (a 41-13 Bledisloe Cup decider loss) that helped us get ourselves right for what was ahead - the World Cup."