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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 11:01 GMT


Sport: Rugby League

Kangaroos deny Kiwis Tri-Nations

Vagana: Late try was not enough thanks to video decision

New Zealand 20-22 Australia

Australia won the Tri-Nations series after a dramatic end to the final saw them avenge their narrow defeat by the Kiwis at the start of the competition.

In the first game three weeks ago New Zealand beat Australia 24-22 before both defeated Britain.

The home side in Auckland had looked set to repeat their two-point win until the Aussies scored in the last five minutes of the final.

And New Zealand's last chance disappeared when a full time try was disallowed by the video referee to end a disastrous sporting week for the country.

Sailor breezes in

The Kiwis had appeared set to claim a first series win over Australia since 1953 after a 70th-minute Nigel Vagana try.

But with Kangaroos prop Darren Britt in the sin bin, Wendell Sailor finished a movement started by Brett Kimmorley to recapture the lead.

A try attempt from New Zealand lock Logan Swann was disallowed after the full time siren.

The decision was the fourth video referee ruling against the home side in the game.

Bradford's Paul brothers - Henry and Robbie - both suffered the same fate in the first period as Australia survived the first half sin-binning of fullback Darren Lockyer to lead 14-10 at the break.

The scores were 6-6 after converted fourth-minute tries by Kangaroo winger Mat Rogers and New Zealand halfback Robbie Paul five minutes later.

Pauls combine

The Kiwi effort was perhaps the try of the tournament as the siblings teamed up.

Henry broke the line deep in his own territory and passed off to Robbie who ran three quarters of the field to score.

The younger brother was then deemed to have lost the ball short of the line in the 13th minute.

And when the elder of the English-based scrum pairing got over the line in the 27th minute, he had the ball stripped by Lockyer, who was despatched for 10 minutes despite the try not being awarded.

In between, Australian Matthew Johns extended his side's lead to 12-6 with a 17th-minute try.

He was forced to the sideline soon after with a head wound following a heavy tackle involving Richard Swain.

New Zealand had begun to commit simple mistakes , although the Kangaroos made their fair share late in the first half.

Kiwis with wind behind them

New Zealand came out into the second half with the strong wind on their side and ready to fire.

Fullback Lesley Vainikolo very nearly made a brilliant solo try, only to be denied by awesome Lockyer defence.

Australia won possession and kept it for a gruelling series of six after six when finally saw Rogers put over in the corner.

Darren Britt was sinbinned for holding onto a player after the tackle and with a weakened defence Vagana was able to go in for a simple looking try.

Then came the dramatic finale, as the Kangaroos succeeded and the Kiwis failed to make killing blows.

Australia: Lockyer, Rogers, Smith, Gidley, Sailor, Fittler (captain), Kimmorley, Britt, Gower, Howe, Fletcher, Kosef, Smith.Subs: Girdler, Vella, Timmins.

New Zealand: Barnett (captain), Vainikolo, Talau, Wiki, Vagana, H Paul, R Paul, Smith, Swain, Vagana, Kearney, Rua, Swan. Subs: Ngamu, Lowire, Cayless, Kidwell.

Referee: Russell Smith (Great Britain)





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