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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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Cheika's Wallabies lay down World Cup marker with win over All Blacks

A brilliant second-half display saw the Australians emerge as fully deserving Rugby Championship victors.

MICHAEL CHEIKA’S WALLABIES laid down a World Cup marker with a super second-half performance that saw them beat New Zealand 27-19, their first win over the Kiwis since 2011.

The Australians claimed the 2015 Rugby Championship title in doing do, and gave themselves major confidence ahead of the second Bledisloe Cup tie in Auckland next weekend.

Australia Head Coach Michael Cheika   29/11//2014 Cheika seems to have added a mental edge to a talented Wallabies squad. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Having trailed 6-3 at half time, Cheika’s men scored three second-half tries through prop Sekope Kepu, wing Adam Ashley-Cooper and the superb replacement scrum-half Nic White.

The All Blacks responded with a brace from debutant wing Nehe Milner-Skudder, but the Wallabies showed great mental steel to finish the game strongly. White’s long-range penalty in the 68th minute squeezed them in front, before the Montpellier man darted over for a try that he converted himself.

Steve Hansen will rue the many basic errors from his New Zealand team, particularly in the tackling department, where basic one-on-one hits were missed at key moments.

For Pool A opponents Wales, Fiji and England, this excellent display from Cheika’s Australia provides much food for thought.

After Dan Carter’s two first half penalties and one from Australia’s Matt Giteau, the try-scoring at ANZ Stadium burst into life with Kepu’s wonderful front row effort, the tighthead prop making up for his first-half sin binning with some impressive footwork.

But the All Blacks conjured a response 10 minutes later as Carter’s offload found Ben Smith with an small element of fortune, allowing the fullback to burst through and feed Hurricanes flyer Milner-Skudder.

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After an error-strewn first-half, the game had now fully burst into life and a superb grubber kick from replacement Matt Toomua allowed Ashley-Cooper to finish in the right corner with 59 minutes gone.

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Again, the All Blacks responded strongly, as Milner-Skudder found himself with space wide on the right four minutes later.

The 24-year-old looked to struggle to actually touch the ball down initially, but with referee Wayne Barnes asking his TMO ‘Is there any reason not to award the try?’, the five-pointer stood.

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With New Zealand now 20-19 in front, Cheika’s Wallabies failed to fold and worked their way back into Kiwi territory. An excellent long-range strike from White sent them into a 22-20 lead before he crossed for the try that finally gave his side some breathing room.

A missed tackle from Codie Taylor allowed the scrum-half to dart through to the delight of the home crowd.

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With the Wallabies scrum strong throughout at ANZ Stadium and their defence functioning with aggression and cohesion, their World Cup odds are likely to drop following this victory.

New Zealand will look to remedy their own problems at Eden Park next weekend.

There’s been a brilliant Wallabies’ front row try against the All Blacks

‘Some guys won’t make the plane, but you’ve got to die trying’

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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