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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Trans-Tasman tussles
By Bryn Palmer

This second of this year's three Bledisloe Cup encounters takes place on Saturday as New Zealand travel to Brisbane to face Australia in the Tri-Nations series.

The All Blacks won their opening skirmish in Christchurch three weeks ago comfortably enough, but the pair have tended to enjoy much closer matches in Australia.

BBC Sport recalls six of the best trans-Tasman tussles between these two southern hemsiphere powers.

AUSTRALIA 35-39 NEW ZEALAND (1 JULY 2000, SYDNEY)

Many believe this was the best game ever played between the two countries, and possibly the greatest Test of all time.

Jonah Lomu sprints clear to score the match-winning try in Sydney in 2000
"Go you big thing, go!"
The All Blacks exploded out of the blocks in front of a 110,000 crowd, leading 24-0 after barely 10 minutes.

But Australia remarkably levelled the scores at 24-all at half-time, and appeared to have won when Jeremy Paul scored a try to put them 35-34 ahead in the 79th minute.

But Taine Randell threw a basketball pass out to Jonah Lomu, shouted "Go, you big thing!", and the most fearsome player in world rugby did the rest.

NEW ZEALAND 23-24 AUSTRALIA (5 AUGUST 2000, WELLINGTON)

A heartbreaking defeat on home soil for the All Blacks, who appeared to 'choke' in the closing minutes of a nail-biting contest.

Australia captain John Eales kicks the winning penalty in Wellington in 2000
Eales gets his kicks in Wellington
Trailing 23-21 going into injury time, Australia twice kicked to touch confident they could exploit a faltering New Zealand line-out.

Two stolen line-outs and an infringement by All Blacks prop Craig Dowd later, and the Wallabies were awarded a penalty.

With regular kicker Stirling Mortlock off the field, up stepped multi-talented skipper John Eales, who calmly slotted the ball between the posts with the last kick of the game.

AUSTRALIA 29-26 NEW ZEALAND (1 SEPTEMBER 2001, SYDNEY)

More agony for the All Blacks as Australia gave Eales the perfect send-off to his outstanding career by securing a second successive Tri-Nations title.

Toutai Kefu scores the match-winning try against New Zealand in 2001
Kefu's try broke Kiwi hearts again
But they again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, with New Zealand leading 26-22 with 10 minutes remaining after recovering from a 19-6 half-time deficit.

That was still the case with 90 seconds left, Eales spurning three kickable penalties as the clock ticked down, each time ordering a kick to touch.

His tactics gleaned a spectacular reward as a charging Toutai Kefu took Stephen Larkham's inside pass and barrelled his way over the line.

AUSTRALIA 16-14 NEW ZEALAND (3 AUGUST 2002, SYDNEY)

Almost a carbon copy of the previous year's finale, with the All Blacks again on the receiving end.

Matt Burke is mobbed after landing his late penalty in 2002
Burke is mobbed after his winner
Having beaten Australia for the first time in four attempts in Christchurch, the visitors were within seconds of reclaiming the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 1997.

The full-time siren had already sounded at the Telstra Stadium when Australia, having closed to within a point with Mat Rogers' try, were awarded a penalty inside the All Blacks half.

Matt Burke, who missed the conversion of Rogers' try to keep New Zealand ahead, made no mistake this time.

AUSTRALIA 21-50 NEW ZEALAND (26 JULY 2003, SYDNEY)

One of Australia's most humiliating defeats, and the most points they have ever conceded in a home Test.

Joe Rokocoko scores one of his three tries against Australia in Sydney last year
Three-and-easy for Rokocoko
This was payback time, big style, for the All Blacks, who racked up their own highest-ever points tally against the Wallabies.

Giant wing Joe Rokocoko led the charge with three of New Zealand's seven tries as their back three ran riot.

The All Blacks went on to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 1997 by edging home 21-17 in Auckland three weeks later.

AUSTRALIA 22-10 NEW ZEALAND (15 NOVEMBER 2003, SYDNEY)

Alas, not if you are of an All Blacks persuasion, as the Wallabies again defied the critics and pre-World Cup predictions to prevail in a pulsating semi-final.

Stirling Mortlock on his way to scoring against New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final
Mortlock paved the way to victory
Australia were superb from the first whistle, lifting the intensity of their game and limiting their mistakes, with Stephen Larkham calling the shots.

When Stirling Mortlock interceped a Carlos Spencer pass and sprinted 90m to score the opening try, New Zealand must have had a familiar sinking feeling.

Forced to play catch-up rugby, they ran into a green-and-gold wall as another World Cup slipped away, spelling the end of coach John Mitchell's reign.



SEE ALSO
New Zealand 32-12 Australia
08 Jul 06 |  Internationals
New Zealand 34-24 Australia
03 Sep 05 |  Internationals


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