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BBC World Service's Graham Moody reports
"Such was the pace of this game for eighty minutes"
 real 28k

Saturday, 5 August, 2000, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
Cool Eales stuns All Blacks
Justin Marshall
Justin Marshall is wrapped up by Australian tacklers
New Zealand 23-24 Australia

A last-gasp penalty goal by Australia skipper John Eales saw the world champion Wallabies snatch a dramatic 24-23 victory over New Zealand in Wellington to retain the Bledisloe Cup and keep the Tri-Nations series alive.

Eales calmly slotted his kick through the posts in the fourth minute of injury time to leave the home side and their fans devastated.

New Zealand had appeared to be on course for victory after leading 23-21 with the ball on the Australian line deep in stoppage time.

But two stolen line-outs, a Stephen Larkham hack upfield and a somewhat dubious infringement on the edge of the All Black 22 left Eales with the chance to steal an amazing victory.

Dream start

Earlier, Australia had got off to a dream start, opening the scoring with their first attack of the game from a scrum near halfway.

Tana Umaga
Umaga was in rampant form throughout the game
Centre Daniel Herbert sliced through the home defence with a superb dummy before offloading to wing Stirling Mortlock, who just outpaced Tana Umaga to touch down near the posts. Mortlock added the conversion to make it 7-0.

The lead became 12-0 on the quarter-hour mark when Eales stole a lineout on halfway. The ball was worked wide and fly-half Stephen Larkham popped a pass to Joe Roff who brushed off Alama Ieremia to crash over in the corner.

But the All Blacks, fresh from their 39-35 triumph over Australia in Sydney three weeks ago, refused to panic and hit back immediately.

Umaga set up a ruck after a surging run into the Australian 22 and the ball was moved to No.8 Ron Cribb who put a prefect grubber kick through for Christian Cullen to score.

Mehrtens added the conversion to reduce the deficit to five points.

Within minutes the All Blacks were ahead when a complicated midfield move put Umaga racing clear.

Scoring record

The winger timed his pass to Cullen to perfection and he raced under the posts for his record-equalling 39th Test try.

Alama Ieremia and Christian Cullen
Ieremia congratulates Cullen, the master finisher
Merhtens' conversion made it 14-12, but Mortlock banged over a penalty to restore Australia's lead.

An infringement by Australian back row Jim Williams allowed Mehrtens to put the home side back in front with a penalty at 17-15. Again Australia were quick to counter, though, Mortlock adding another three-pointer.

New Zealand finished the half on top however, when Mehrtens kicked his second penalty after Australia were caught offside to make it 20-18 at the break.

The second half was dominated by the defences and only Mehrtens and Mortlock added to the scoring with a penalty each before Eales - with Mortlock off the field - stepped up for his last-minute matchwinner.

New Zealand had won their earlier match in the Tri Nations against Australia 39-35. Australia, the holders of the Bledisloe Cup, retain the trophy after levelling the series.

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