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All Blacks' 17-game winning streak ends as Wallabies earn Sydney draw

Weather conditions were far from ideal as all the scoring came from kicks in the 12-12 fixture.

Australia's Kurtley Beale collides with Richie McCaw in Sydney.
Australia's Kurtley Beale collides with Richie McCaw in Sydney.

THE ALL BLACKS were held to a 12-12 draw by the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship opener to end their 17-match winning streak in Sydney on Saturday.

The draw means the New Zealanders remained equal with the 17-Test winning runs of the 1965-69 All Blacks and 1997-98 Springboks.

It finished try-less with out-halves Aaron Cruden and Kurtley Beale both kicking four penalties.

The Wallabies will be ruing their lost opportunity to beat the All Blacks for the first time in three years after coming into the Test winners of their last seven Tests.

Australia had the best chances late in the game after pulling level twice with New Zealand in a tight second half after the All Blacks were twice reduced to 14 men through a yellow card.

The Kiwis have not tasted defeat since going down to England at Twickenham in December 2012, and have not lost a match in the two four-nation Rugby Championship seasons.

The All Blacks relished the wet slippery conditions and peppered the Wallabies with short and high kicks to keep them under pressure in their half.

Cruden kicked a fourth-minute penalty and Kurtley Beale replied with a 40-metre penalty after Jerome Kaino was penalised for not staying on his feet.

Australia New Zealand Rugby Union Brodie Retallick stretches to reach the pill in a line-out. Source: Rick Rycroft

But New Zealand continued to keep the pressure on the home defence and were rewarded when Matt Toomua was penalised for not releasing the ball and Cruden kicked his second penalty.

Australian supporters collectively held their breath with teammates Nic White and Israel Folau collided in gathering a short kick, but both continued on after treatment.

Cruden kicked the All Blacks to a 9-3 lead when the Wallabies’ scrum was penalised for collapsing.

The Wallabies had their best chance in the final minutes of the opening half with loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett given a yellow card in the 39th minute for obstructing the ball.

Beale’s penalty kick came back off the upright after the half-time siren as Australia again mounted another attack only for Wycliff Palu to be tackled into touch to end the half.

The Wallabies pegged back the deficit to three just after the resumption when Richie McCaw was penalised for off-side and Beale landed the kick.

White’s long kick into empty territory had the All Blacks scurrying back to save, but the Wallabies got a penalty when Cory Jane was in front of the clearing kick and Beale levelled up the match at 9-9 in the 56th minute.

Australia New Zealand Rugby Union Aaron Cruden kicked all 12 of New Zealand's points. Source: Rick Rycroft

Cruden retrieved the lead with his fourth penalty minutes later after Michael Hooper was caught for going off his feet.

The Australians hit back with 14 phases inside New Zealand’s quarter which was ended when winger Pat McCabe was tackled into touch by Julian Savea and Ryan Crotty.

The All Blacks were reduced to 14 men for a second time when replacement Beauden Barrett was yellow carded for a ruck infringement and Beale levelled the score with 11 minutes left.

The Wallabies pushed deep into New Zealand territory in the final minutes looking for the winning points but the All Blacks held on.

- © AFP, 2014

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