All Blacks charge into Championship with win over Wallabies

New Zealand All Blacks' Cory Jane, left, dives to score a try as Australia's Anthony Fainga'a looks on during their Bledisloe Cup rugby match in Sydney. (Rick Rycroft, AP)

New Zealand All Blacks' Cory Jane, left, dives to score a try as Australia's Anthony Fainga'a looks on during their Bledisloe Cup rugby match in Sydney. (Rick Rycroft, AP)

New Zealand beat Australia 27-19 in Sydney on Saturday to maintain their iron grip on the Bledisloe Cup and land an early blow in the battle for the Rugby Championship.

The World Cup holders raced into an 18-3 lead in the opening game of the newly expanded tournament, which now includes Argentina, through tries by Israel Dagg and Cory Jane before veteran lock Nathan Sharpe crossed just before halftime for the Wallabies' only try.

Berrick Barnes' kicking hauled Australia to within five points to leave New Zealand facing an uncomfortable final few minutes but Dan Carter's fifth successful penalty ensured that the All Blacks take pole position ahead of next weekend's return fixture in Auckland.

Defending southern hemisphere champions Australia troubled their trans-Tasman rivals when they had the ball in hand but a raft of missed tackles and a couple of knock-ons at key moments effectively handed the win to the All Blacks. – Reuters.

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