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Australia 22-23 New Zealand

Australia (14) 22
Tries: O'Connor, Ashley-Cooper Pens: Giteau (3), Beale
New Zealand (6) 23
Tries: McCaw, Read Pens: Weepu (3) Cons: Weepu (2)


Mils Muliaina holds off Lachie Turner's challenge
Turner (right) did superbly to deny Muliaina in the first half

New Zealand secured a historic Tri-Nations clean sweep with victory over Australia in the final Test in Sydney.

Tries by Richie McCaw and Kieran Read saw the All Blacks come from 22-9 down with 13 minutes left to earn a record 10th straight win over the Wallabies.

James O'Connor managed the only try of the first half, with Adam Ashley-Cooper adding another after the restart.

But Matt Giteau's wayward kicking proved costly as the two late tries secured an historic Kiwi win.

Although New Zealand had already wrapped up the Tri-Nations title and beaten their fiercest rivals to secure the Bledisloe Cup, going into the match they still had plenty to play for. They were hoping for a 10th straight win over Australia and their 15th consecutive Test victory, and when Piri Weepu opened the scoring with an early penalty, the signs were promising.

But Australia came within inches of producing the perfect response, as Lachie Turner went over in the left-hand corner to round off a fine passing move.

Unfortunately for the home fans, however, Cory Jane's superbly-timed tackle meant Turner's foot clipped the touchline as he went over, and instead of a try Australia had to settle for a penalty for an early infringement.

A frantic opening period continued as Turner was then called into action in defence, coming up with a brilliant last-ditch tackle on Mils Muliaina as he got on the end of Israel Dagg's angled cross-field kick just yards short of the line.

To come out on top in a Test like that is pretty satisfying

NZ captain Richie McCaw

With both sides showing so much attacking intent, the opening try was just a matter of time, and when it came, it was for Australia.

Ben McCalman broke away from the back of the scrum and punched his way through a half-hearted New Zealand defence to burst clear, before off-loading to right wing O'Connor, who raced over in the corner.

Although Giteau missed the corner and a penalty from the same position on the right wing, he added to the lead before half-time with a penalty from a more central position, stretching Australia's advantage to eight points with another right on half-time.

The hosts struck first on the resumption to extend that lead.

After a sustained period of pressure, Quade Coooper's pass took a touch off the arm of Corey Flynn, keeping the move alive and allowing Australia to work the ball out to Ashley-Cooper who went over in the left-hand corner.

With 20 minutes left, New Zealand made three changes, including the removal of the unconvincing Aaron Cruden at fly-half, as they tried to drag themselves back into the match.

The changes brought instant reward, with captain McCaw scurrying over from the back of a scrum to touch down, Weepu's conversion closing the gap to six points.

606: DEBATE
SouthSeaIslander

With six minutes left the visitors took the lead after another sustained period of pressure, McCaw's short pass allowing number eight Read to power over from close range under the posts.

That allowed Weepu the simplest of conversions to put them in front.

New Zealand had timed their comeback to perfection and Australia - who prevailed in an 80-point humdinger against South Africa in Bloemfontein a week ago - could not muster a response.

That left McCaw celebrating a remarkable 46th victory from his record 52 Tests as captain, and the All Blacks with a 15th straight victory - moving within two of the joint record in elite internationals held by New Zealand (1965-69) and South Africa (1997-98).

"We were on the back foot for a fair bit of that game, and I'm so proud of the guys, they just kept believing - to come out on top in a Test like that is pretty satisfying," said McCaw.

"When you go behind it's easy to chuck it around and try to play miracle rugby - you've got to stick to the plan. We managed to get the vital tries at the vital times - it just comes down to pressure."

Australia captain Rocky Elsom described their late defeat as "definitely not ideal".

"We did some really smart things in the second half - we created a try and put some good phases together," he said. "But we weren't able to create enough with our ball. Eventually that cost us."


Australia: Beale; O'Connor, Ashley-Cooper, Giteau, Turner; Cooper, Genia; Robinson, Moore, Ma'afu, Chisholm, Sharpe, Elsom, Pocock, McCalman.
Replacements: Slipper for Ma'afu (52), Mumm for Chisholm (55), Burgess for Genia, Barnes for Cooper, Faingaa for Ashley-Cooper.

New Zealand: Muliaina; Jane, Smith, Nonu, Dagg; Cruden, Weepu; Woodcock, Mealamu, Franks, Donnelly, Thorn, Vito, McCaw, Read.
Replacements: Flynn for Mealamu (12), Boric for Donnelly, Slade for Cruden, Afoa for Franks (all 60).



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see also
South Africa 39-41 Australia
04 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 44-31 Australia
28 Aug 10 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 22-29 New Zealand
21 Aug 10 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 20-10 Australia
07 Aug 10 |  Rugby Union
Australia 28-49 New Zealand
31 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
Australia 30-13 South Africa
24 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 31-17 South Africa
17 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 32-12 South Africa
10 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union


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