All Blacks end Tri-Nations unbeaten

12th Sep 2010, 18:21

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Another win for the All Balcks: Mils Muliaina

Another win for the All Balcks: Mils Muliaina

Another Wallaby second-half meltdown handed New Zealand their tenth straight win over Australia on Saturday as they won 23-22 in Sydney.



Another Wallaby second-half meltdown handed New Zealand their tenth straight win over Australia on Saturday as they won 23-22 in Sydney.

After being on top for the best part of 65 minutes, Australia saw their 22-9 lead disappear in the final fifteen minutes as Richie McCaw's men turned on the class when it mattered most.

The result also means New Zealand extend their winning run in all Tests to fourteen.

What a game! This is now rugby should be played.

As expected, both teams arrived with an attacking mindset and were keen to keep the ball alive and in hand. Yet some sterling defensive work saw the protagonists all-square on two tries each at the final whistle.

Australia's 14-6 half-time lead was a fair reflection of a high-paced first 40 minutes. Each side had been denied a try by mere inches and one mistake by Victor Vito was enough to allow the hosts to cross the whitewash first.

But the Wallabies were consistently half a second ahead of their visitors at point of contact, forcing the All Blacks to leak a couple of penalties. David Pocock was once again the main instigator of the damage at the breakdown.

The truth be told, Australia could easily have been further ahead as Matt Giteau had left eight points behind (and another two in the second half) with an inconsistent performance from the kicking tee.

It was all going to plan for the men in gold, who looked to have the result wrapped up as they entered the final straight.

Was it fatigue from the long trip back from South Africa? Burnout after three Tests in as many weeks? Lack of conditioning? Whatever it was, the hosts simply weren't the same side in the final quarter as the All Blacks' old tactic of turning up the heat at the death worked once again.

The Wallabies first try came from rare attack from the base of the scrum as Ben McCalman broke off, sent Vito the wrong way and found James O'Connor in aches of space on the blindside. The fresh-faced wing's speed did the rest to give the Aussies an 8-6 lead on the quarter-hour mark.

Australia took a commanding 19-6 lead when a long pass out wide from Will Genia found Adam Ashley-Cooper, who powered his way over soon after the restart.

Piri Weepu's third penalty with half-an-hour left gave their All Blacks their first points in over 40 minutes to reduce the gap to ten.

Giteau's fourth miss prompted him to hand over the kicking duties to Kurtley Beale, who extended the hosts' lead at 22-9 going into the final quarter.

But it was all New Zealand in the run-in. Robbie Deans lost all colour in his face as his side were unable to get their hands on the ball.

The All Black pack was suddenly a step ahead in the loose and their domination at scrum time finally paid dividends when McCaw broke down the blindside to cross the try-line unhindered.

Unlike Giteau, Weepu was able to add the extra points, giving the visitors sniff of victory.

When Kieran Read muscled his way over with six minutes left on the clock, it all took on a familiar air as the All Blacks' composure was contrasted by the dejected look on the Wallabies' faces.

Weepu's second conversion put his team ahead for good with six minutes left to play. The rest is history.

Man of the match: For 60 minutes we had David Pocock's name pencilled in. Israel Dagg and Kieran Read deserve a mention, but on the day he became the All Blacks' most capped skipper, Richie McCaw gets our nod. Not just for his try and tireless work, but for the fact that when he is at the helm, no matter what the scoreline, you can never count the Kiwis out.

Moment of the match: It was almost in the bag until, the in the 67th minute, the Wallaby scrum went backwards (again). It gave McCaw that half-second head start he needed to evade Rocky Elsom and break clear to score.

Villain of the match: Nothing nasty worth reporting. We witnessed an 80-minute advertisement for the game.

The scorers

For Australia:
Tries: O'Connor, Ashley-Cooper
Pens: Giteau 3, Beale

For New Zealand:
Tries: McCaw, Read
Cons: Weepu 2
Pens: Weepu3

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Mark Chisholm, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 James Slipper, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 21 Anthony Fainga'a.

New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Victor Vito, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Rene Ranger.

Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Weather: 15 °C. Clear. Almost windless
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
Television match officials:Matt Goddard (Australia)