[QODLink]
Rugby Union
Australia end wait with Tri-Nations title
While Australia head to the Rugby World Cup with two wins under their belt, New Zealand hit a rough patch of form.
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2011 13:06
Sekope Kepu celebrates after Australia sneak to late victory against New Zealand [GALLO/GETTY]

Australia held off New Zealand 25-20 on Saturday to claim the Tri-Nations title for the first time in a decade in a confidence-boosting victory two weeks from the World Cup.

For the All Blacks, though, a second away loss in consecutive weeks compounds the already immense pressure on them to win a World Cup on home soil.

The Wallabies led 20-3 at half-time after Will Genia and ageless No. 8 Radike Samo crossed for contrasting tries in the 13th and 34th minutes.

New Zealand rallied with 17 unanswered points via tries to Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu to level it at 20-all on the hour before Australia fullback Kurtley Beale crossed out wide a minute later for the deciding try.

Quade Cooper missed the sideline conversion and another penalty in the 72nd minute, allowing New Zealand to stay in contention and keep tension high in the crowd of 51,858, but the Australians held on for their first win over the All Blacks in Brisbane since 1992 and claim their first Tri-Nations title since 2001.

The All Blacks roughed up Australia in the series-opening match at Auckland last month, racing to a 17-point lead before winning 30-14.

The first half in Brisbane was the complete opposite.

Samo's solo sprint 

Cooper opened the scoring with a penalty and scrumhalf Genia darted over from the back of the ruck five meters out, throwing a dummy to sneak between two All Blacks frontrowers after sustained Australian pressure in the attacking quarter.

Samo, the 35-year-old backrower making his first test starting appearance since 2004, palmed off one defender and sprinted 60 meters, outpacing Cory Jane and Mils Muliaina, on a stunning solo run to the line and Cooper converted to make it 20-3 at the break.

The New Zealanders lost backrowers Kieran Read (left ankle) and Adam Thomson (left shoulder) with injuries in the first half, diminishing their effectiveness at the breakdown and pace around the field.

The Australians were aggressive in attack and defence but the All Blacks wasted scoring opportunities with some poor handling, bad options or out-of-the-line defending by the Australian outside backs.

         Samo of the Wallabies scores a try after a dazzling solo run to the line [GALLO/GETTY] 

But the New Zealanders took advantage of more possession in the second half, with Carter landing his second penalty of the match in the 47th minute to start the scoring run.

After hanging on for 27 phases, New Zealand spread the ball and Carter drew in two defenders before unloading to Conrad Smith, who ran into a yawning gap and touched down under the posts.

The New Zealanders equalised in the 59th minute when Ma'a Nonu stepped twice off his left foot on an angled run for the posts and Carter calmly slotted the conversion from in front to make it 20-20.

Just when it looked like the momentum had swung New Zealand's way, the Australians hit back when Genia cut through the defence near the ruck with a sniping run and unloaded to Digby Ioane, who passed it on for fullback Beale to score untouched in the left corner.

New Zealand had a stranglehold on the trophy before a second-string squad lost 18-5 in South Africa last week, letting the Australians back into the Tri-Nations.

Now the All Blacks go into the World Cup opener against Tonga on September 9 on the back of consecutive losses to two-time champions Australia and defending World Cup champions South Africa.

Source:
AP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
New report highlights plight of domestic helpers in the United Kingdom, with critics comparing it to kefala system.
join our mailing list