Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Kangaroos able to tame British Lions

RUGBY INTERNATIONALS The Australians came out on top in wet conditions at the JJB Stadium, leaving the hosts winless in the Tri-Nations rugby league series

AP , WIGAN, ENGLAND

Wales' Shane Williams, with ball, is tackled by New Zealand's Chris Jack during their rugby union international match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday. The All Blacks defeated Wales 41-3.

PHOTO: AP

Matt Cooper scored a try in each half and Australia beat Britain 20-6 at the JJB Stadium on Saturday in Tri-Nations rugby action.

Australia forward Craig Fitzgibbon opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he kicked a penalty goal for a 2-0 lead after the Lions were adjudged to be offside.

Kangaroos center Cooper then ran 85m to score after intercepting a wayward pass from Britain hooker Keiron Cunningham in the 18th minute. Fitzgibbon converted and Australia led 8-0 at halftime.

The wet conditions made the greasy football difficult to control with both teams making several handling errors.

Lions forward Adrian Morley forced his way over the tryline in the 48th minute after opposing prop Jason Ryles had spilled the ball. Lock Kevin Sinfield converted for Australia to lead 8-6.

Britain then applied plenty of pressure on Australia's tryline with both teams fatigued from the physical defense and heavy conditions.

Fullback Anthony Minichiello scored in the 75th minute, which Fitzgibbon converted, after clever build-up work from captain Darren Lockyer to put the game out of reach for Britain.

Cooper then scored in the final minute when he took an inside pass from center partner Mark Gasnier.

"The crowd got behind them and they rolled through some good possession and had a good kicking game but it was good defense by us to hang in there," Fitzgibbon said.

The result leaves Britain needing to beat New Zealand and Australia in the series' final two games over the next two weeks by a combined 36-plus points differential to play the Kiwis in the final.

New Zealand 41, Wales 3

A hat trick of tries to wing Rico Gear led New Zealand to a 41-3 victory over Wales in their opening autumn international rugby union test on Saturday.

The victory kept the All Blacks' 52-year unbeaten streak over their Welsh opponents intact and had New Zealand on track to complete a grand slam of victories over Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland for the first time since 1978.

New Zealand flyhalf Dan Carter was outstanding at the Millennium Stadium, kicking cleanly and scoring two tries of his own.

Meanwhile, Australia captain George Gregan's world record 115th test appearance in Marseilles was an unhappy one with France scoring two tries to one in its 26-16 victory over the Wallabies.

"It's a great achievement but the loss takes a bit away from that. We lost the match at the start of the second half," said Gregan, after the Wallabies' sixth straight test loss -- its worst streak since losing seven in a row from 1968-1969.

Carter opened the scoring with a penalty kick after a tight opening 10 minutes when Wales lock Brent Cockbain was penalized for illegally holding onto the ball.

Byron Kelleher then spilled an easy pass which would surely have sent captain Tana Umaga over for a try. But Wales gave away another penalty and Carter kicked accurately to give the visitors a 6-0 lead after 16 minutes.

Wales soon scored through a penalty kick by Stephen Jones, however, when Conrad Smith gave away a penalty by pulling back Ceri Sweeney.

The first try came in the 29th minute when Carter passed beautifully to Mils Muliaina, who found Gear and he crossed in the right corner. Carter converted for the All Blacks to lead 13-3 at the break.

New Zealand blew the game wide open after the break with two more tries in quick succession -- both from Gear.

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