All Blacks captain Kieran Read saluted his team-mates after they retained the Bledisloe Cup with a clinical 36-0 win over Australia at Eden Park.
The world champions scored five tries without reply, as New Zealand made amends for last weekend’s 47-26 defeat to the Wallabies in Perth.
Sonny Bill Williams, Sevu Reece and George Bridge were promoted to the starting XV and each scored a try, as Steve Hansen’s 100th match in charge proved one to savour.
Read said: “It feels fantastic. A lot’s been said all week and the guys really fronted. So, I’m so happy. It’s a trophy that we cherish. I know the Wallabies do as well.
“We both really love playing for this cup and it showed in these two matches.
“I don’t think you can expect to have a result like that, but it comes through hard work.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 17, 2019
“The team truly believes in each other and that’s what we’re going to need moving forward.”
His opposite number, Michael Hooper, had high hopes of becoming the first Australia skipper in 17 years to get to grips with the Bledisloe Cup trophy.
But Read it was who joyously lifted the silverware in Auckland, leaving Hooper to reflect on where the second game in the series went wrong for Australia.
Hooper said on Sky Sports: “The turnaround in seven days… they dominated all bar a few minutes of that game in all areas, they were really good at the scrum, lineout, so hats off to them.
“Our boys, we threw everything we had at them the whole game, probably let it get too far away in the end there.
“We’ve got a lot of heart, a lot of heart to come down here. We’ve had a really good week, unfortunately it didn’t show out there tonight.
“But we’ll rebuild. We’re still rebuilding and gaining momentum.
“We’ll have a couple of days off, it’s going to take a toll on our bodies. We’ll get back together, regroup, and see what we can learn from this game and build and get better.”