Mon, Nov 29, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Australia secures win at Twickenham

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY The Wallabies gained their first victory at Twickenham in six years in a thriller as the All Blacks beat France

AP , LONDON

Ireland's Paul O'Connell, top left, secures the ball while battling Argentina's Rimas Alvarez during a rugby union test match in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Tri-Nations powerhouses Australia, New Zealand and South Africa beat Europe's best in rugby internationals on Saturday, and only a last-minute drop goal prevented Argentina from making it a Southern Hemisphere sweep.

Australia beat World Cup holder England 21-19 in a thriller, the All Blacks rubbed out Six Nations champion France 45-6, South Africa outplayed Scotland 45-10, and Argentina was edged by Ireland 21-19 after leading 19-9.

Italy also beat the US 43-25 to complete Europe's monthlong test schedule. Only No. 1-ranked New Zealand of all the visitors, including Japan and Canada, went unbeaten.

"I think the southern nations have pulled ahead of the Northern Hemisphere," France manager Jo Maso said.

Matt Giteau set up two tries and kicked three penalties as the Wallabies, beaten by France two weeks ago, topped England for the second time in a row.

Coach Eddie Jones' team, which lost to England a year ago in the World Cup final at Sydney, won their previous meeting 51-15 at Brisbane in June. But this was even more satisfying against an England team rebuilding under new coach Andy Robinson.

Hooker Jeremy Paul and fullback Chris Latham both went over for Australian tries before halftime to open up a 15-0 lead. But England hit back with tries by Lewis Moody, Josh Lewsey and Mark Cueto to go ahead by four points before Giteau, who had set up both Australian scores, kicked two more penalties to clinch Australia's first victory at Twickenham in six years.

"That is one of the best games I've been involved in," Latham said. "It's been a tough tour and we just dug in. We've got the best defense in the world and when we had the ball we used it well.

"This is a quality English team and it means the world to beat them. They came back at us really hard in the second half but we stuck at it, defending our line against a side that can really punish you."

It was a first loss for Robinson, who took over England three months ago after Clive Woodward quit.

"At 19-15 up we had them on the rack and maybe we stopped playing a bit," he said. "You cannot afford to give sides like Australia a sniff and that's what we did."

New Zealand never gave France even a sniff at Stade de France, pouring in five tries to none to inflict their biggest defeat in France.

Flyhalf Daniel Carter kicked almost flawlessly -- making eight of nine goalkicks -- and scored one of four second-half tries in the bruising encounter. Rodney So'oialo, Jerry Collins, Byron Kelleher and replacement center Ma'a Nonu also dotted down. Carter converted four of them, and booted four penalties to send the All Blacks into halftime well in control at 19-6 ahead.

France's only points came from the boot of scrumhalf Frederic Michalak with two early penalties, as Les Bleus went tryless for the first time in 22 tests and 18 months.

"There are the Blacks and the rest of the world," said dejected France captain Fabien Pelous. He called them "an extraordinary team."

At Murrayfield, winger Bryan Habana scored two intercept tries in his first start for the Springboks and Jaco van der Westhuyzen collected a try and three drop goals as the Tri-Nations champion shaded Scotland.

Jacque Fourie and Solly Tyibilika also scored tries and the South Africans even crossed the Scottish line while locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha were in the sinbin for foul play.

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