20 August, 2017
The gloom surrounding Australian rugby union deepened on Saturday as Australia suffered a 54-34 defeat to New Zealand in an action-packed opening match of the Rugby Championship.
The All Blacks were at their brilliant best - against an utterly abject Wallabies outfit - as they ran in six first-half tries and two more early in the second period to open up a scarcely believable 54-6 lead in Sydney.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read described his side's sublime first-half attacking blitz as "surreal".
The Wallabies left the field to stunned silence with their already tenuous Bledisloe Cup hopes in tatters with the All Blacks at home in the potentially deciding game in Dunedin next week.
"You can't fault that first half".
Australian rugby legend Michael Lynagh has savaged the Wallabies' "schoolboy" skills and revealed how his offers to help have fallen on deaf ears.
New Zealand management then wrapped up the press conference, with Hansen shaking his head and, as he got out of his seat to leave, adding: "Sport's not about that".
Australia faced New Zealand and England, the top two sides in the world, seven times a year ago and lost every single game.
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And when the All Blacks chalked up their eighth try in the 48th minute, thanks to a sensational pass back inside to Ben Smith from Aaron Smith, it marked the most points they had ever scored against Australia, from 182 matches.
Sonny Bill Williams crashed over in the 34th, then Crotty scored his second in the last minute of the first half.
The men in black rewrote the record books; scoring their most points in a test against the Aussies. As an employer, we will take some time to assess this. "We'll take the positives and there's obviously things to learn from".
If history is any guide, the Bledisloe Cup will remain in New Zealand hands for a 15th straight year with the Wallabies having never won a series after losing the first match at home.
Cheika still had faith his side could do it.
It will be made public next month.
"We've got to acknowledge what we did wrong first of all and then say, 'OK, we've got to fix that thing or those two things or whatever they might be, ' and then go to it and do it".
"As I said, there's no point us sitting here trying to talk about how he feels and if you're struggling with that, put yourself in his shoes and imagine what would be said and how you'd feel".
"They'll do it. This group have a very strong connection, this is a road block in front of course, it's going to knock us down but it's not going to stop us".