Rugby

Aussies stop NZ's winning run

2012-10-20 14:07
Mike Harris (Gallo Images)

Brisbane - Dan Carter missed a drop goal attempt after the final siren as the Wallabies ended the All Blacks' winning run with a fighting 18-18 try-less draw in the final Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane on Saturday.

The World Cup champions were chasing their 17th consecutive victory but were denied by a spare-parts Wallaby side, missing many of their leading stars through injury.

The Australians looked on target to pull off a boilover with a 15-6 lead after 51 minutes, but the All Blacks fought back to 18-15 with nine minutes left.

But fullback Mike Harris levelled the scores minutes later to set up a gripping finale where both sides could taste victory.

Skipper Richie McCaw elected to take a scrum from a penalty deep in New Zealand territory and go after the win and after driving up-field and setting up for a chance at the winning drop goal, Carter's attempt sailed just wide of the right post to leave the scores deadlocked.

New Zealand were bidding to join the 1969 All Blacks and 1998 South African Springboks with 17 successive victories but were once again foiled by the Wallabies, who ended New Zealand's unbeaten 15-match run in a 26-24 win in Hong Kong in 2010.

Harris was on great form in the first half, kicking all his four penalty goal attempts to give the under-strength Wallabies a 12-6 half-time advantage.

The Wallabies began well when they charged down a clearing kick in the opening seconds only for the ball to elude Adam Ashley-Cooper over the dead-ball line.

Carter kicked the All Blacks to a 6-3 lead before New Zealand came the closest to scoring in the first half through winger Hosea Gear.

Israel Dagg's kick ahead was just forced dead by Harris with Gear in hot pursuit midway through the half.

The Wallabies' blindside flanker Scott Higginbotham could be in hot water after his scuffle with All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.

Higginbotham appeared to knee McCaw in the head to trigger the skirmish before appearing to head-butt the All Blacks skipper on the ground. Both players were cautioned by referee Craig Joubert.

Joubert made good on his warning of 'next one goes' when he gave All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock a yellow card for repeated ruck infringements on the half-time siren.

Harris kicked his fourth penalty to give the Wallabies a six-point buffer at the turnaround.

Kurtley Beale further lifted the Wallabies' confidence with a prodigious penalty from just inside his own half for a 15-6 lead.

But Carter kicked his third penalty and the Wallabies lost openside flanker Michael Hooper to the sin bin after taking out All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith after he had kicked ahead.

Carter pulled New Zealand to within three points with the resulting penalty in the 56th minute.

Australia lost a lineout on their throw giving the All Blacks possession inside their quarter and they mounted successive mauls before they received a penalty for Carter to level the scores at 15-15 with 13 minutes left.

New Zealand got the big breakthrough when Adam Ashley-Cooper spilled Aaron Cruden's high kick and Nick Phibbs was in an off-side position in picking up the ball for an All Blacks penalty.

Carter kicked his sixth penalty nine minutes from time to edge New Zealand in front and in sight of victory.

But Harris levelled with his fifth penalty with five minutes left in what proved to be the final score.


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