Australia's Wallabies notched up a clear victory 34-19 over the fearsome New Zealand's All-Blacks to take the lead in the Tri-Nations competition. It's the All-Black's second defeat in a row in this tournament.
The Wallabies powered to the top of the Tri-Nations with a pulsating 34-19 victory over New Zealand in a memorable Bledisloe Cup Test match here on Saturday.
The Australians played superb attacking rugby to score four tries and a bonus point to leapfrog the All Blacks and the world champion Springboks to the tournament lead after two games.
The rousing victory, only a point off the most ever scored against the All Blacks, was coach Robbie Deans' fifth straight and a special one against New Zealand counterpart Graham Henry.
New Zealand Rugby Union's World Cup autopsy after their quarter-final exit to France last year saw New Zealander Deans surprisingly rejected as the new All Blacks coach in favour of retaining Henry.
Deans went on to become the Wallabies' first foreign boss and his side thrilled the near-79,000 home crowd with their adventurous rugby, and came after the All Blacks had hit the front 19-17 five minutes after halftime.
But Australia finished the better in the last 30 minutes with tries to Rocky Elsom and James Horwill clinching a famous victory.
"A lot was asked of them, we didn't have a lot of possession for long periods and we had to defend, but they did that well and created turnovers," Deans said.
"When the All Blacks scored just prior to halftime and then came back out and scored again that's a tough mental test but the guys got up and responded and finished well."
Australia have only scored more points in a Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in their 35-39 loss here in 2000.
The All Blacks have now suffered back-to-back Tri-Nations losses after losing 30-28 to South Africa in Dunedin a fortnight ago.
"The game was hugely quick and our guys showed a lot of courage and ability to come back to lead 19-17, but the last 30 minutes we couldn't hold on to the ball," Henry said.
"We've got three games left in the Tri-Nations to turn things around and we have a lot of work to do."
The All Blacks went a man down in the sixth minute when lock Brad Thorn was sin-binned by South African referee Craig Joubert for a high tackle on Wallaby fly-half Matt Giteau as Australia were pressing.
The Wallabies made the under-manned All Blacks pay with centre Ryan Cross scoring in the 10th minute after Lote Tuqiri swotted away three tacklers.
From the next ruck Giteau sent Cross over unopposed.
New Zealand fought their way back with winger Sitiveni Sivivatu particularly dangerous and fullback Mils Muliaina scored in the 24th minute after he featured three times in an attacking raid.
But the Wallabies were playing confidently and off a scrum win fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper kicked ahead and winger Peter Hynes won the chase and scored a converted try for a 17-5 lead.
The All Blacks continually opted to take quick tap kicks and spread the ball wide and were rewarded right on halftime when hooker Andrew Hore charged through three tackles to score off a Sivivatu pass.
Daniel Carter's conversion kept the All Blacks in the contest at 17-12 at halftime.
Carter, who had a dynamic attacking match, kicked the All Blacks in front for the first time 19-17 just minutes after halftime when he sliced through and scrum-half Andy Ellis scored off the ruck.
Tuqiri came desperately close to regathering his kick ahead only to be denied by replacement scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan, before flanker Elsom stormed through an opening to score near the posts. Giteau's conversion retrieved the lead 24-19 after 55 minutes.
A Giteau drop goal gave the Wallabies a crucial eight-point lead 13 minutes from fulltime.
Lock Horwill made the game safe for the Wallabies when he plunged over for a try six minutes to go with Giteau's conversion pushing the home side out to a 15-point buffer.
Australia have played second-fiddle to New Zealand in rugby -- the All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and the Tri-Nations from 2005 -- and Saturday's win was only their fourth in their last 10 encounters.
The fierce rivals meet again next Saturday in Auckland.
Date created : 2008-07-26