ABs steal win at the death

2014-10-18 12:57
Richie McCaw (Gallo Images)

Brisbane - Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has announced his resignation after New Zealand scored a converted try in the last few seconds to claim a dramatic 29-28 victory over the Wallabies in the third Bledisloe Cup test in Brisbane on Saturday.

SCOREBOARD: Wallabies v All Blacks

Australia looked destined to emerge from two weeks of turmoil over the Kurtley Beale saga with a famous victory until centre Malakai Fekitoa crossed for New Zealand's fourth try, which replacement flyhalf Colin Slade calmly converted.

A second stunning blow followed soon after the final whistle when McKenzie, who had come under fire for his role in the Beale affair, said he was walking away from the job after 15 months in charge.

Winger Cory Jane and hooker Dane Coles scored for the visitors in the first half and scrumhalf Aaron Smith's 69th minute try kept the All Blacks in a thrilling game they had been chasing all evening.

"They talk about having to play for 80 minutes and that was the way that was tonight," New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw said in a pitchside TV interview.

"Both teams came here to play but the boys showed composure at the end to get the points when we had to."

Tries from halfbacks Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley in the first half and one after the break from winger Adam Ashley-Cooper, playing in his 100 test, were Australia's reward for a performance of rare intensity.

The Bledisloe Cup was already lost for another year but this could have been a win the Wallabies would have cherished after defeats to South Africa and Argentina in their last two outings and the row which could see Beale kicked out of Australian rugby next week.

The All Blacks were also coming off a loss after their defeat at the hands of the Springboks two weeks ago, though, and they were determined to avoid losing two tests in a row for the first time since 2011.

The game started at a frenetic pace and the Wallabies scored first in the 12th minute when centre Christian Lealiifano found a gap for a 30 metre break and a couple of phases later Phipps went over from close range.

Foley converted but the All Blacks counter-punch took a matter of seconds, centre Conrad Smith claiming the re-start before number eight Kieran Read put Jane over in the corner.

Captain Michael Hooper handed the ball to Foley after 32 minutes to give the Wallabies a 10-7 lead with his first penalty but again the All Blacks hit straight back.

Australia appeared to have their defence in order as the ball swept down the New Zealand backline but hooker Coles dummied and charged through a huge gap to touch down.

Beauden Barrett missed an easy conversion and this time it was Australia with an immediate response, Foley pouncing from close range to dot down in the corner and give his side a 15-12 halftime lead.

Three minutes after the break and they extended the lead to 22-12 with a converted try from winger Adam Ashley-Cooper, who cut inside his marker for his 29th five-pointer for his country.

Barrett cut the deficit to seven points with a penalty after 54 minutes but Foley kicked his second four minutes later and from the ensuing re-start All Blacks replacement Patrick Tuipulotu was sin-binned for tackling Rob Simmons in the air.

It was the All Blacks who got the next score, though, Smith getting his reward for a quickly taken penalty close to the home try line to reduce the lead to 25-22.

Replacement scrumhalf Nic White had the of 45,186 crowd on their feet when he extended it by another three points three minutes from time but you write New Zealand off at your peril and the All Blacks pounded away until Fekitoa found a gap.

"So tough, to be winning until the bell is gutting," said Hooper.

"But it's step up from where we were ... and it's a test of character to come out and put on the performance we did. It's disappointing tonight but we have to learn from that."

Read more on:    wallabies  |  all blacks  |  rugby

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