New Zealand routed Ireland 42-10 in its first match since winning the Rugby World Cup, while Australia rebounded from its loss to Scotland to defeat Wales 27-19.
Julian Savea scored a hat trick as the All Blacks outscored Ireland five tries to one yesterday to give new head coach Steve Hansen a winning start at Auckland’s Eden Park, where they secured their second world title in October by beating France.
Conrad Smith and Adam Thomson also touched down and Dan Carter kicked 17 points as New Zealand extended its winning streak at Eden Park to 28 matches, dating back to 1994.
Australia responded to a shock 9-6 loss to Scotland on June 5 by running in three tries at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. Will Genia, Rob Higginbotham and Pat McCabe touched down for the Wallabies. Alex Cuthbert scored a try for Wales and Leigh Halfpenny booted 14 points.
Australia hasn’t lost back-to-back matches against touring northern hemisphere teams since losing both Tests against the British & Irish Lions in 1989. The Wallabies’ last back-to-back home losses to an individual northern hemisphere team was in 1979 against Ireland.
Both series continue again in seven days and again on June 23. This year marks a return to best-of-three Test series as rugby administrators seek to make matches more meaningful in the June international period, during which touring northern hemisphere teams have typically sent understrength squads to the southern hemisphere.
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