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Australia 20-20 New Zealand

Australia (6) 20
Tries: Morris, Thurston, Smith Goals: Thurston (4)
New Zealand (6) 20
Tries: Nuuausala, Sau, Hohaia, Pritchard Goals: Goodwin (2)


Cameron Smith scores a last-gasp try for Australia

Highlights - Australia 20-20 New Zealand

Cameron Smith's last-minute try rescued a draw for Australia in their Four Nations opener against New Zealand.

The sides were level at the break after tries from Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Brett Morris, with Bryson Goodwin and Johnathan Thurston converting.

Thurston then crossed himself and sent over a penalty before tries from Junior Sau, Lance Hohaia and Frank Pritchard looked to have won it for the Kiwis.

But Smith's late try and Thurston's conversion saw Australia draw level.

It was a dramatic finish to a scintillating match that did not deserve to have a loser.

New Zealand took an early lead at the Twickenham Stoop as Nuuausala cut through two tackles to score under the posts, with Goodwin converting.

But just before the half hour the two sides were level, debutant Morris going over in the corner following Greg Inglis's break with Thurston sending over the extras.

PAUL FLETCHER'S BLOG
BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher

Paul Gallen's late tackle on New Zealand's Issac Luke sparked a mass brawl just before half-time.

Tempers had cooled by the time the teams came out for the second half, and it was Australia who got themselves ahead.

Thurston stole the ball from Hohaia in contact and went over unopposed under the posts. The North Queensland player sent over the conversion and a later penalty but New Zealand responded through Sau.

Sau powered through the Australian defence, holding off three tacklers to bundle over, but Goodwin's conversion hit the post.

Hohaia was next to cross for the world champions, dummying inside the Australian defence to cross, before Goodwin's kick and Pritchard's try in the corner made it 20-14.

But with time running out, Smith powered over to score a late try which Thurston converted as the points were shared.


Australia coach Tim Sheens:
"At one stage it was a point lost, but in the end it was a point gained.

"We had the game and enough ball, but they just wouldn't lie down and they defended their goal-line really well to frustrate us.

"All credit to the boys, they stuck at it and ended up keeping us in the tournament.

"I was surprised at the way they kept coming back at us - I thought they'd fall off at the back end of the match.

"It's amazing what adrenaline and the scoreboard can do to players."

New Zealand skipper Benji Marshall:
"That's footy. You can be in front for so long, but Australia are so good they can hit back from anywhere.

"Although we drew right at the end this is a real base for us in the tournament. We can improve on that too.

"We have belief in this team. We want to play and win for each other."


Australia: Slater, B. Morris, Inglis, Hodges, Hayne, Lockyer, Thurston, Hannant, Smith, Civoniceva, Waterhouse, Hoffman, Watmough.
Replacements: Gidley for Inglis (40), Thaiday for Hannant (19), White for Civoniceva (17), Gallen for Watmough (31).

New Zealand: Hohaia, Perrett, Matai, Sau, Goodwin, Marshall, Fien, Nuuausala, Leuluai, Moimoi, Harrison, Pritchard, Blair.
Replacements: Lima for Nuuausala (15), Luke for Leuluai (20), Waerea-Hargreaves for Moimoi (16), Soliola for Pritchard (32).

Att: 12,360

Ref: S Ganson (England).



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see also
England 34-12 France
23 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
O'Loughlin to miss Four Nations
20 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Peacock says England must deliver
19 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Smith happy with England workout
17 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Wales 12-48 England
17 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Aussies out of French contention
17 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Bridge given shock England call
13 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Leuluai included in Kiwis squad
07 Oct 09 |  Rugby League


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