Sun, Aug 28, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Wallabies topple NZ to win Tri-Nations

MOMENTUM:Australia have now beaten the All Blacks two of the past three times, giving Robbie Deans’ side a boost ahead of the World Cup in NZ in just two weeks

AFP, SYDNEY

The Wallabies’ Radike Samo, right, fends off an All Black during their Tri-Nations match in Brisbane yesterday.

Photo: AFP

The Wallabies downed the All Blacks 25-20 to claim their first Tri-Nations crown in 10 years at Suncorp Stadium yesterday.

Australia gave their hopes of a third World Cup success in New Zealand next month a major boost, with a spirited three tries to two victory after leading 20-3 at halftime.

The Wallabies have not lifted the southern hemisphere crown since John Eales’s team won in 2001.

The Australians showed great resolve in a titanic second half as the world No. 1 ranked All Blacks stormed back to draw level with 20 minutes left.

However, the Wallabies, led by lock James Horwill for the first time, fought back and claimed victory with a 61st-minute try by fullback Kurtley Beale.

The Wallabies lost their chance to win this year’s Bledisloe Cup when holders New Zealand comprehensively beat them 30-14 in Auckland three weeks ago.

However, it was Australia’s second win over the All Blacks in their past three meetings after they downed Graham Henry’s team 26-24 in Hong Kong in October last year.

It was the Wallabies’ first victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane for 19 years.

The Wallabies began furiously, putting the All Blacks under pressure with a swarming defense, and had a couple of early chances before Quade Cooper kicked a third-minute penalty.

Right-wing Adam Ashley-Cooper was over the New Zealand try-line, but was hauled back by Piri Weepu and Mils Muliaina.

The Wallabies’ ferocity was taking its toll on the All Blacks, with No. 8 Kieran Read replaced with a left ankle injury, while skipper Richie McCaw played on after treatment to his lower back.

The Australians were rewarded for their territorial domination when scrumhalf Will Genia darted through an opening to score the opening try in the 13th minute.

Centre Anthony Fainga’a pulled off a try-saving tackle on Muliaina, before Dan Carter kicked the All Blacks’ first points with a 24th-minute penalty.

Ma’a Nonu was penalized for making a tackle without the ball, giving Cooper an easy penalty kick and a minute later No. 8 Radike Samo, the oldest Wallaby player at 35, raced 60m to score an astonishing try after David Pocock stole the ball in his half.

Samo’s try was converted by Cooper giving the Wallabies a 20-3 lead after 34 minutes.

New Zealand’s problems were compounded further when flanker Adam Thomson came off just before halftime with an apparent shoulder injury for Ali Williams.

Carter kicked his second penalty seven minutes after the resumption as the All Blacks employed more disciplined ball retention and phases to wear down the Wallabies.

The All Blacks controlled the ball through 27 phases, before Keven Mealamu and Carter combined to send center Conrad Smith racing over for their first try in the 52nd minute, which Carter converted.

New Zealand drew level in the 59th minute when Nonu was involved twice before scoring off Smith’s pass.

However, the Wallabies hit back minutes later when Genia dummied into the clear and combined with winger Digby Ioane for Beale to score in the left corner to retrieve the lead 25-20.

Cooper had the chance to put the Wallabies eight points clear, but missed a penalty attempt with eight minutes left.

The Wallabies wound down the clock and held on for the victory.

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