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New Zealand 39-10 Australia

New Zealand (21) 39
Tries: Woodcock 2, Nonu 2 Cons: Carter 2 Pens: Carter 5
Australia (10) 10
Try: Ashley-Cooper Cons: Giteau Pens: Giteau

By Paul Fletcher

Tony Woodcock scored two first-half tries for New Zealand
Woodcock was in rampaging form close to the Australia line

New Zealand avenged their defeat in Australia last week with a deserved Tri-Nations victory that also tied the Bledisloe Cup at one win each.

Tony Woodcock scored two close-range tries as the Kiwis raced into an 18-3 lead before Adam Ashley-Cooper replied with his own well-taken score.

Ma'a Nonu scored a decisive try early in the second half while the impressive Dan Carter kicked five penalties.

Nonu scored again in injury time as the Kiwis secured a bonus point.

The pressure had been huge on coach Graham Henry and his team going into the match following their heaviest defeat to the Wallabies in nine years last weekend.

But the victory moves them to the top of the Tri-Nations table with 10 points as Australia failed to score after the break.

In previous years the win would have been enough for New Zealand to retain the Bledisloe Cup but it is being contested over four games this season.

"We changed the game plan around and the guys executed that exceptionally well," said Henry.

The Wallabies lacked the quick ball and quality of possession they had seven days ago as they suffered their first defeat under their Kiwi coach Robbie Deans.

"The harder we tried the more we seemed to dig ourselves into a hole," said skipper Sterling Mortlock.

"We'll lick our wounds, we'll get a break now for a week and regroup."

The match got off to an inauspicious start for the All Blacks when Ali Williams dropped the ball from the kick off.


To make matters worse, the Wallabies took an early lead through the boot of Matt Giteau after the home team were penalised for coming in at the wrong side of the ruck.

But Carter soon levelled with another penalty and the All Blacks finally found the rhythm so lacking in their defeat in Sydney.

Their kicking game, much criticised after their 34-19 reverse, was superb and the Australians struggled to come to terms with Carter's deft utilisation of the swirling wind in Auckland.

The returning Richie McCaw made a huge difference in and around the rucks, while Australia conceded a series of costly penalties that were clinically punished by the boot of Carter.

Woodcock barged over from short range for the opening try after 21 minutes, while the North Harbour prop finished off a set move from a line-up, collecting a sharp pass from Williams before crashing over as the Kiwis raced into an 18-3 lead.

But the Wallabies responded, working the ball brilliantly across the field from a line-out, with Mortlock slipping a tackle before releasing Ashley-Cooper, who had a clear run to the line.

Another penalty saw Carter take the All Blacks to a 21-10 lead at the break and within minutes of the restart Nonu crossed after New Zealand stole the ball from a Wallaby line-out.

The Kiwis shifted it across the field, with Nonu collecting a superb back of the hand pass from Sitiveni Sivivatu before throwing a dummy and crossing for the try.

Carter took the game further away from the Australians with two penalties and undermined the Wallabies' hopes of forcing their way back into the contest with his superb territorial kicking.

And a superb night for the All Blacks was complete when the video referee ruled that Nonu had grounded the ball legally over the line at the death.

New Zealand: Muliaina, Kahui, Smith, Nonu, Sivivatu, Carter, Cowan, Woodcock, Hore, Somerville, Thorn, Williams, Kaino, McCaw, So'oialo.
Replacements: Mealamu, Afoa, Boric, Thomson, Weepu, Donald, Tuitavake.

Australia: Ashley-Cooper, Hynes, Mortlock, Barnes, Tuqiri, Giteau, Burgess, Robinson, Moore, Baxter, Horwill, Sharpe, Waugh, Smith, Palu.
Replacements: Polota-Nau, Dunning, Vickerman, McMeniman, Cordingley, Cross, Mitchell.

Referee: M Lawrence (South Africa)

see also
Henry under fire after NZ loss
27 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Australia 34-19 New Zealand
26 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Australia 16-9 South Africa
19 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Tri-Nations acts to stop exodus
18 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 28-30 South Africa
12 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 19-8 South Africa
05 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
McCaw to miss most of Tri-Nations
22 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
Hong Kong to host NZ v Australia
03 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union

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