x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Wallabies end 10-year drought

Robbie Deans, the Australia coach, acknowledged the significance of the Wallabies' first Tri Nations title triumph in a decade Saturday yet played down any suggestion that the victory over New Zealand, the World Cup favourites, provided a psychological advantage ahead of next month's World Cup tournament.

Radike Samo, right, scored Australia's second try in their defeat of New Zealand to win the Tri Nations for the first time in 10 years.
Radike Samo, right, scored Australia's second try in their defeat of New Zealand to win the Tri Nations for the first time in 10 years.

SYDNEY // Robbie Deans, the Australia coach, acknowledged the significance of the Wallabies' first Tri Nations title triumph in a decade Saturday yet played down any suggestion that the victory over New Zealand, the World Cup favourites, provided a psychological advantage ahead of next month's tournament.

The Wallabies defeated the All Blacks 25-20 at Suncorp Stadium to claim their first southern hemisphere crown since John Eales's team won in 2001.

Victory led to talk of Australia winning the William Webb Ellis trophy for a third time, but Deans was quick to dampen expectations.

"It's a significant result for us as we haven't done that since 2001 so that's a biggie," Deans said.

"But, in terms of the World Cup, it's irrelevant, and if anything we've just put the bar up to that end should we be fortunate enough to meet the All Blacks again" at the World Cup.

Leading 20-3 at half time after a dominant first-half showing, the Australians showed great resolve in a riveting second half as the world No 1-ranked All Blacks stormed back to draw level with 20 minutes left.

But the Wallabies, led by lock James Horwill for the first time, fought back and claimed victory with a 61st-minute try by full-back Kurtley Beale.

"We'll take some real value out of it, that was an important step for us," Deans said.

The Wallabies lost their chance to win this year's Bledisloe Cup when holders New Zealand comprehensively beat them 30-14 in Auckland three weeks ago.

But it was Australia's second win over the All Blacks in their last three meetings; they downed Graham Henry's team 26-24 in Hong Kong last October.

It was the Wallabies' first victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane for 19 years.

"Congratulations to Australia. I thought they played very well for long periods in the game, and to win the Tri Nations' trophy contested by the three top teams in the world is a major achievement," Henry said. "We're disappointed in the way we started the game, proud of the way the guys came back in the second half, but it wasn't quite enough."

The defeat could have further repercussions for the All Blacks.

Adam Thomson, the flanker, came off just before half time with an elbow injury. No 8 Kieran Read was replaced with a left ankle injury.

Meanwhile, the captain, Richie McCaw, played on after treatment to his lower back.

It was no wonder the casualty list was so high as the match was played at a furious pace.

Radike Samo, the oldest Wallaby player at 35, managed to avoid some bone-crunching tackles to sprint 60 metres and score an astonishing first-half try.

The All Blacks controlled possession in the second half, illustrated by the 27-phase move which led to Conrad Smith going over for their first try in the 52nd minute.