HONG KONG // The New Zealand coach Graham Henry was satisfied with his team's performance in coming from behind to beat Australia 19-14 in the Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong on Saturday. "The guys would say they won ugly but they got better. They played much better in the second half," Henry said. "We played with more passion and urgency and it was just a matter of trying to get better tactically. We put a bit of ball behind them in the second half."
The All Blacks conceded two early tries to trail 14-9 at the interval before fighting back to clinch this year's Bledisloe Cup series 3-1. "The Wallabies played extremely well. We didn't have many opportunities- it was a pretty quiet first half," said New Zealand's Daniel Carter, who started the game at centre before switching to his usual flyhalf role. "I thought the forwards played a lot better and my job going into fly-half was made easier because of the go-forward ball I was getting."
And the New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said his team needed to learn lessons from another slow start. "We've started points down pretty much in the last two games, that's something we're going to be working on," he said. Australia coach Robbie Deans was keen to stress the positive aspects of his side's third successive loss to New Zealand, who were awarded a number of penalties in the first half.
"I thought the guys retained their composure pretty well, given that they were getting stung and it was stinging on the scoreboard," Deans said. "In reality, the discipline under the circumstances was very good. "It was more the fact that reasons to penalise were being found. And so to that end, we've got to take the hit." New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore will miss this month's tour of Britain and Ireland after limping off against the Wallabies with an ankle injury.
Uncapped hooker Hikawera Elliot, 22, was yesterday named as Hore's replacement. He will link up with his teammates in London tonight before the squad heads to Edinburgh to prepare for the Test against Scotland on Saturday. The All Blacks have further Tests against Ireland, Wales and England. * Reuters