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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 August 2006, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
New Zealand 34-27 Australia
New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw
McCaw with the Tri-Nations trophy and the Bledisloe Cup

New Zealand 34 (11)
Tries: Eaton, Jack, McAlister
Cons: Carter 2
Pens: Carter 5

Australia 27 (20)
Tries: Tuqiri 2, Elsom
Cons: Mortlock 3
Pens: Mortlock 2

New Zealand produced an impressive second-half comeback to defeat Australia in Auckland and secure the Tri-Nations title for the seventh time.

The home side trailed 20-11 at the break after tries from wing Lote Tuqiri and flanker Rocky Elsom, although Jason Eaton did cross for New Zealand.

But the All Blacks dominated the second half and Chris Jack and Luke McAlister put them ahead for the first time.

Tuqiri gave the Wallabies hope late on but New Zealand held on.

New Zealand's win maintained their recent dominance of a competition they have now won four times in the last five years.

They have also earned bragging rights over Australia this season thanks to a 3-0 Bledisloe Cup whitewash.

The boys played exceptional football in the second half

All Blacks coach Graham Henry

Graham Henry's men may have sealed the Tri-Nations title with two games to play but they were made to work hard by a gritty Wallabies side slowly improving under coach John Connolly.

The visitors started well and after Dan Carter and Stirling Mortlock exchanged two penalties each, Tuqiri crossed on 25 minutes to make the score 13-6.

Eaton crossed for New Zealand from a 25m rolling maul to reduce the deficit to two points before Elsom's controversial try just before the break.

Despite having Tuqiri in yards of space outside him, Elsom went for the line himself and the video referee judged that he just managed to ground the ball, although television replays were inconclusive.

Australia could hardly get out of their half after half-time but New Zealand only had two Carter penalties to show for their early pressure.

The home side finally claimed their second try when Jack finished off a fine move on 63 minutes before centre McAlister's intercept try sealed victory.

Tuqiri crossed for his second with eight minutes to go but the result was never in doubt and the All Blacks were left to celebrate a worthy win.
Lote Tuqiri
Tuqiri crossed for a second-half try but it was not enough

However, New Zealand management were angry with an apparent spear tackle by Tuqiri on All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw early in the second half.

It led to citing commissioner Willem Venter citing Tuqiri after the game.

The incident did not sour the celebrations and afterwards All Blacks coach Graham Henry hailed his side's performance.

"We are pleased to have wrapped up the Tri-Nations after four games out of six," said All Blacks coach Graham Henry.

"The boys played exceptional football in the second half after being nine points down and they showed heart and character and played very well."

New Zealand: Muliaina; Howlett, Toeava, McAlister, Rokocoko; Carter, Kelleher; Woodcock, Mealamu, Hayman; Jack, Eaton; Collins, McCaw (capt), Sooialo.
Replacements: Hore, Somerville, Williams, Masoe, Weepu, Tuitupou, L MacDonald.

Australia: Latham; Rathbone, Mortlock, Giteau, Tuqiri; Larkham, Gregan (capt); Holmes, Paul, Blake; Sharpe, Vickerman; Elsom, Waugh, Palu.
Replacements: McIsaac, Baxter, Chisholm, Smith, Sheehan, Gerrard, Rogers.

Tri-Nations Series Table
Saturday, 11 September 2010 13:05 UK
  Team P PD PTS
1 New Zealand 6 73 27
2 Australia 6 -26 11
3 South Africa 6 -47 7

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