Thank for powering their side home
After failing to stamp his mark on the British and Irish Lions series, Barrett was due a big match and his side owe him a big debt of gratitude.
In trouble early, the All Blacks switched to Plan B and heavy artillery pounded the visitors into submission in a remarkable show of power which allowed them to get a foot-hold on the match.
The Wallabies couldn’t handle the All Blacks’ scrum, it was as simple as that, and credit here has to go to Nepo Laulala, called into the No 3 jersey on Thursday due to Owen Franks’ Achilles tendon injury and who put in a very good shift.
He is a lump of a man who can clearly scrummage. He can also defend. Former skipper Stephen Moore was collateral damage at the end of the first half, and while the visiting pack did well not to concede penalties early on as their scrum failed to get out of reverse, they couldn’t hold out for ever.
His front row partner Dane Coles, back for his first test this year, had a few reasons to be pleased, too.
He got through 67 minutes before making way for Codie Taylor — another step completed in his return from concussion.
So, pack excellent, the rest — Barrett apart — not so much. They still had a surprising amount of work to do to win this one.
It went pear-shaped pretty quickly for the All Blacks at the start under the roof in what was a bizarre repeat of last week’s Bledisloe Cup test.
This time, it was the All Blacks conceding the turnovers — they coughed up 10 to the Wallabies’ six in the first half.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said they were seduced by the scoreboard in the second half last weekend.
This time, they were seduced by the idea they could break through the Wallabies midfield without first earning the right. Sonny Bill Williams had terrible trouble with his handling and the passing in general wasn’t up to scratch.
There will be questions asked about the unforced mistakes they made, the lack of composure at times when there really didn’t seem that much pressure on.
It allowed a Wallabies team, which defended far better than in the first test, to build momentum.
This defeat will hurt the Australians.
A victory against the odds would have been just the boost they needed after a horror 12 months.
Instead the Wallabies had to watch as the Bledisloe Cup was presented to the All Blacks for another year after almost getting a grip on it themselves.
The Wallabies couldn’t handle the All Blacks’ scrum, it was as simple as that.