1 Aug 2010

All Blacks too good in Melbourne

7:18 am on 1 August 2010

The All Blacks are on track for a fifth Tri-Nations title in six years after their emphatic 49 points to 28 win over Australia in Melbourne.

The seven tries to three win was made easier by Australia having 14 men for most of the second half following a red card to winger Drew Mitchell, after he batted the ball from the hands of New Zealand centre Conrad Smith.

The South African referee Craig Joubert had spoken to both captains in the first half to warn them that such tactics wouldn't be tolerated.

Mitchell had to go after having earlier been sin-binned for a shoulder charge.

It was 32-14 at half-time as the All Blacks charged out of the blocks, notching up four tries to secure a bonus point before the break then adding three tries in the second half to get their third win from three games in the Southern Hemisphere tournament.

The All Blacks lost prop Owen Franks to a yellow card in the 24th minute but were unfazed and mounted wave after wave of ferocious drives.

Ominously for their opposition, the All Blacks first-five Dan Carter says they can still improve.

Carter also thinks Australia can take some pride from scoring three tries and making a game of it despite being down to 14 men for most of the second half.

The All Blacks now have an almost unassailable lead in the Tri-Nations with the maximum 15 points to the Wallabies' 4, while the Springboks have none.

All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan is in doubt for Saturday's clash in Christchurch with a rib cartilage injury.