Australia 28 New Zealand 29
New Zealand scored and converted a last-gasp try to seal a dramatic 29-28 victory over Australia in Brisbane on Saturday in the final Bledisloe Cup clash of 2014.
The Wallabies led 28-22 as the game at Suncorp Stadium entered the 80th minute, but Malakai Fekitoa crashed over with three seconds left on the clock and Colin Slade coolly added the crucial extras after the siren.
The win secured the All Blacks a 2-0 series triumph, following the 12-12 draw in Sydney and a 51-20 rout in Auckland.
Spearheaded by the incisive running and uncompromising defence of Tevita Kuridrani and breakdown work of Scott Fardy, the hosts led from start to - almost - finish with tries to Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley and Adam Ashley-Cooper - on the occasion of his 100th cap - while Foley kicked 10 points from the tee.
Cory Jane and Dane Coles touched down for the visitors in the first half and Aaron Smith’s score 11 minutes from time kept them within touching distance before Fekitoa’s late heroics. Beauden Barrett added two conversions and a penalty.
It was a high-paced and entertaining encounter, much like the corresponding match in Dunedin last year, but featured its fair share of handling errors and missed tackles. The All Blacks especially were off the mark with plenty of handling errors, only 37 per cent possession and 19 missed tackles in the first half alone.
Christian Leali’ifano ran a great line to set up the Wallabies’ opening try, scored by half-back Phipps from the base of a ruck on the tryline in the 12th minute.
The good work from the fast start was swiftly undone by a brilliant New Zealand restart, claimed by Conrad Smith and shifted to Jane for a clinical finish in the right corner.
Barrett’s sideline conversion levelled the scores as the All Blacks earned the ire of referee Craig Joubert with a succession of penalties.
Foley slotted three points before All Blacks hooker Coles dummied to Julian Savea, stepped the defence and put the visitors ahead for the first time in the match.
Australia gained the edge just before the break with Foley sniping over in the left corner to go 15-12 up.
The Wallabies started the second half like they started the first, full of running and with plenty of off-loads to allow Ashley-Cooper to score in his landmark match.
A penalty apiece left the score at 25-15 when replacement All Blacks forward Patrick Tuipulotu was sent to the bin for taking out Rob Simmons in the air.
If the Wallabies dominated the first hour, it was New Zealand who stepped up in the closing quarter.
Half-back Smith took a quick tap and scored from close range to reduce the gap to three as the visitors upped the tempo looking for the winning score.
A long-range Nic White penalty pushed the lead back to six, but the All Blacks’ belief showed through at the death with quick phase play for Fekitoa to score on the right.
Slade, after missing touch from a penalty a minute earlier, then calmly slotted the conversion to clinch a thrilling win for New Zealand.