All Blacks strike back

New Zealand's All Blacks achieved a clear victory 39-10 over Australia's Wallabies on the fifth day of the Tri-Nations. They had suffered a severely defeat by the Australians last week. The All Blacks now lead the competition.


The All Blacks burst the Wallabies' bubble with a crushing 39-10 win to storm back into contention for the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup here on Saturday.

Stung by a week of soul-searching after their dismal 15-point loss to the same opponents in Sydney last weekend, New Zealand were too committed for an Australian side unbeaten in five Tests under Robbie Deans since he took charge as Wallabies' first foreign coach.

It was a particularly special night for embattled All Blacks coach Graham Henry, who admitted he had been out-coached the previous week by Deans -- the man the New Zealand Rugby Union rejected in favour of keeping Henry despite the All Blacks' World Cup failure last year.

"We learned from last week, it was a learning experience for us all, particularly for the coaches," Henry said.

"We changed our pattern and our kicking game paid dividends. We took our opportunities this week and that last bonus point (try) was just the icing on the cake."

The All Blacks returned to the top of the Tri-Nations with the bonus-point fourth try in injury time and also levelled the best-of-four match trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup series with two games to play in Brisbane and Hong Kong.

Fly-half Dan Carter kicked 19 points from two conversions and five penalties from nine attempts.

Australia found playing a third consecutive weekend of Tri-Nations rugby a bridge too far and they now have three weeks to prepare for their next Test against South Africa in Durban while the All Blacks take on the Springboks in Cape Town on August 16.

"It was a pretty good performance from the All Blacks," Deans said. "They built pressure and they profited from that and didn't allow us to build pressure and they grew in confidence.

"We came up a distant second here and we have some downtime before we go to Africa, and look forward to that opportunity."

The All Blacks decimated Australia's normally reliable lineout, winning seven against the throw, and dominated the breakdown area, which was a weakness for them in Sydney.

New Zealand, fired up after an intense traditional haka, ripped into the Wallabies from the kickoff and were a considerably different outfit than the one which went down by a near-record score the previous weekend.

Matt Giteau kicked the Wallabies in front with a fourth-minute penalty, but from there the All Blacks dominated territory and possession, winning the breakdown aided by the return of skipper and champion flanker Richie McCaw.

Carter kicked two penalties before the momentum turned with two tries in four minutes by loosehead prop Tony Woodcock, both burrowing efforts close to the Wallabies' try-line.

Woodcock crashed over in the 20th minute and then scored off Ali Williams' lineout win to again score four minutes later.

Carter's conversion pushed the All Blacks out to an imposing 18-3 lead and their intensity had the Wallabies rattled.

But the Australians hit back eight minutes before halftime with a well-worked try off a lineout win with Giteau's wide pass giving outside-centre Stirling Mortlock space to get round Conrad Smith and set fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper on his way to the try-line.

The Wallabies were back in the game at 18-10, but George Smith conceded his second off-side ruck penalty to give Carter the chance to kick his third penalty and a 21-10 halftime lead.

New Zealand struck decisively minutes after the resumption when the Wallabies botched a lineout and came under pressure with centre Ma'a Nonu and winger Sitiveni Sivivatu combining before Nonu plunged over for a converted try and a 28-10 advantage.

Carter kicked New Zealand out of sight with two more penalties but it looked as though they would miss out on a scoring bonus point until Nonu's injury time sprint to the corner, the video referee giving the nod for his team's fourth try.

The defeat means the Wallabies increased their losing sequence in away Tri-Nations Tests to 14, with their last win on the road coming in New Zealand in 2001.

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