New Zealand kicked off the new four-nations Rugby Championship with a 27-19 victory over Australia at ANZ Stadium.
After conceding an early penalty the All Blacks piled on 18 unanswered points before a try by Nathan Sharpe trimmed the half-time deficit to 18-10.
The Wallabies twice closed to within five points on the back of Berrick Barnes penalties early in the second half, but Dan Carter answered both to restore the visitors' eight-point buffer. Barnes closed the gap again in the 76th minute but the Wallabies blew a last-ditch chance to attack and squandered a bonus point when they conceded a late scrum penalty after the siren.
Israel Dagg and Cory Jane scored New Zealand's tries, while veteran lock Sharpe was the only try-scorer for the home side.
Carter kicked six from eight for a 17-point haul, while Barnes landed a perfect five from five in front of 76,877 fans.
The win leaves the All Blacks one win away from retaining the Bledisloe Cup ahead of Saturday's return clash at Eden Park.
- Nathan Sharpe
- Berrick Barnes
- All Blacks