x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Deans delighted with Wallabies defence

The coach Robbie Deans paid tribute to his Australia side for their defence after they defeated New Zealand 34-19 in the Tri Nations series.

Australia's Stephen Moore, centre, and Nathan Sharpe, right, celebrate their team's victory over New Zealand in the Tri Nations.
Australia's Stephen Moore, centre, and Nathan Sharpe, right, celebrate their team's victory over New Zealand in the Tri Nations.

SYDNEY // Robbie Deans paid tribute to his Australia side after they defeated New Zealand yesterday to maintain their perfect start to the Tri Nations. The Australians scored four tries to secure a vital bonus point in the match in Sydney, but crucially they restricted the All Blacks to only three touchdowns despite conceding almost twice as much possession.

"It was great. I'm very proud of the lads," Deans said. "We were forced to defend for long periods and, at times, it was tenuous, but they hung in there and they created a lot of turnover ball just through the intensity of their tackles they were able to build enough pressure to survive." It is now five wins in as many games for Deans as Wallabies coach. They raced to 10-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes as the fly-half Matt Giteau kicked a penalty and then converted Ryan Cross' try, which came after good work from Lote Tuqiri.

The All Blacks opened their account in the 24th minute when the fullback Mils Muliaina crashed over after launching a counter attack from deep inside his half. But the Australians stretched their lead to 12 points when Adam Ashley-Cooper hacked the ball downfield and the winger Peter Hynes touched the ball down. But New Zealand cut the margin to five points when Andrew Hore beat three defenders to score on the stroke of half-time after they opted for a quick tap penalty.

The All Blacks snatched the lead when the scrum-half Andy Ellis burrowed his way over four minutes into the second half. But Australia edged back in front when Rocky Elsom galloped through a gaping hole to score near the posts and Giteau added the extras two points. New Zealand were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty try when Cross pulled down Sitiveni Sivivatu when the All Blacks winger looked certain to score, but they struggled to create any further chances as the Wallabies dominated the last quarter.

Giteau provided the Australians with an eight-point buffer with a drop goal 13 minutes from the end, and James Horwill sealed the win and bonus point when he galloped through a gaping hole to score five minutes from the end. The two sides meet again next Saturday and Deans is expecting another tough clash. "It's going to be harder next week when we play the All Blacks in Auckland but obviously there's enough belief there for them to keep going," he added.

* Reuters