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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 September 2005, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
New Zealand 34-24 Australia
Doug Howlett crosses against Australia
New Zealand 34 (20)
Tries: McCaw, Howlett 3
Con: MacDonald
Pens: MacDonald, McAlister 3
Australia 24 (5)
Tries: Chisholm, Gerrard, Tuqiri, Johansson
Cons: Rogers 2
New Zealand claimed their sixth Tri-Nations title with a Doug Howlett-inspired win over Australia.

The home side looked to be cruising to victory after taking a 20-0 lead with a try from Richie McCaw and two scores from Howlett.

But Australia bounced back with tries from Mark Chisholm, Mark Gerrard and Lote Tuqiri to make the score 20-19.

Three Luke McAlister penalties put New Zealand further ahead and Howlett's third try sealed the win.

The victory completes an impressive winter for the All Blacks, who earlier sealed a whitewash of the Lions.

It also ends the Tri-Nations dreams of South Africa, who would have won the title if injury-hit Australia had pulled off a surprise win.

And with the Wallabies suffering their first Tri-Nations whitewash and their fifth defeat on the bounce, the pressure on coach Eddie Jones is now bound to increase.

The Wallabies were led out at Eden Park by skipper George Gregan, who equalled Jason Leonard's 114-cap world record.

But his side were soon on the back foot and after Leon MacDonald kicked an early penalty, McCaw picked up from the back a ruck to cross over on 17 minutes.

New Zealand continued to pressurise and three minutes later lock Ali Williams produced a superb cross-field kick for Howlett to score in the corner.

His second followed soon after when he finished off a fine backline move.

Australia, despite being without 17 first-team players, refused to give up and winger Mark Gerrard's break set up Chisholm to score out wide.

Gerrard added a second just after the break while Tuqiri scored after charging down MacDonald's clearance kick.

MacDonald's fly-half replacement McAlister settled the home nerves with nine points as New Zealand looked to close the game out.

New Zealand skipper Tana Umaga
Tana Umaga lifts the Tri-Nations trophy after the win at Eden Park

But substitute back Lloyd Johansson crossed in the corner on 69 minutes after some neat play from Mat Rogers and George Smith to cut the deficit back to five points.

Howlett though crossed again for his third with eight minutes to go after the All Blacks took advantage of a spill from Aussie full-back Drew Mitchell.

New Zealand skipper Tana Umaga was delighted with the win but admitted the performance left a lot to be desired.

"We must have been happy with the lead and decided to give up," he said.

"We can talk about the game all night, but we're happy with the two cups we've got this year. We're more than happy.

"It's disappointing we go away tomorrow and forget about tonight. But that's the way it is. But we'll celebrate tonight, we'll make sure of that."

Afterwards Jones could not find any comfort in the way his side battled back into the game.

"We got ourselves into a position to win the game and we let ourselves down again. It's not good enough," he said.

New Zealand: Muliaina; Howlett, Umaga (capt), Mauger, Rokocoko; MacDonald, Weepu; Woodcock, Mealamu, Hayman, Jack, Williams, Lauaki, McCaw, So'oialo.
Replacements: Witcombe, Somerville, Ryan, Holah, Senio, McAlister, Smith.

Australia: Mitchell; Gerrard, Rathbone, Turinui, Tuqiri; Rogers, Gregan (capt); Young, Cannon, Baxter, Chisholm, Sharpe, Elsom, Waugh, Smith.
Replacements: Freier, Dunning, Kanaar, Roe, Whitaker, MacKay, Johansson.

Weepu fit for Tri-Nations finale
02 Sep 05 |  Internationals
Australia pick Rogers at fly-half
31 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Lauaki & Howlett to face Aussies
30 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Kaino to replace banned Collins
29 Aug 05 |  Internationals
New Zealand 31-27 South Africa
27 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Australia 19-22 South Africa
20 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Australia 13-30 New Zealand
13 Aug 05 |  Internationals
South Africa 22-16 New Zealand
06 Aug 05 |  Internationals
South Africa 22-16 Australia
30 Jul 05 |  Internationals


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