Australia’s hopes of ending their Tri Nations drought were dealt a severe blow when they were beaten by the All Blacks for a second successive week.
The Wallabies are looking to win their first southern hemisphere crown since 2001 – the same year that Australia toppled Graham Henry’s Lions.
They began their 2010 campaign with a bang three weeks ago, comfortably disposing of world champions South Africa in Brisbane.
But early promise has been replaced by disappointment following a comprehensive seven-try defeat to Henry’s current charges in Melbourne and a 20-10 reverse in Christchurch on Saturday.
The latest defeat to New Zealand was at least more competitive than the encounter in Australia but the Wallabies never really looked like leaving for home with a rare win over their bitter rivals.
The All Blacks scored tries through Mils Muliaina and Conrad Smith, with Dan Carter adding two conversions and two penalties, while Kurtley Beale claimed a solo score for the visitors.
Beale raced two-thirds of the length of the pitch for a superb try shortly after Muliaina’s effort and the Wallabies put the All Blacks under plenty of pressure in the minutes that followed.
But Robbie Deans’ men were unable to turn possession into points and were left to rue that failure as Smith claimed a second New Zealand score before Carter’s first penalty gave the All Blacks a 17-10 lead at the break.
The second period was dominated by defence, with a 38,000-strong crowd witnessing only a second penalty from Carter with nine minutes left at the Jade Stadium.
Australia have now been without the Bledisloe Cup for some seven years, while the All Blacks have won 13 Tests on the bounce against all opposition and look odds on to claim yet another Tri Nations crown thanks to four wins from four games.