at the death

Last-gasp All Blacks break Australian hearts

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

MALAKAI FEKITOA’S LAST gasp try and Colin Slade’s conversion with time expired secured New Zealand a 29-28 win over Australia in Brisbane this morning.

Though this particular Bledisloe Cup test was technically a dead rubber, it never looked like it as Australia took a 12th minute lead on the occasion of Adam Ashley-Cooper’s 100th Test.

After some persistent goal-line pressure from the Wallabies, Nick Phipps was the man to capitalise after going over from the base of the ruck. Bernard Foley’s conversion made it 7-0.

However, after a near-perfect restart from Beauden Barrett, the All-Blacks were level on their very next possession thanks to good work from Kieran Read who offloaded in the tackle to Corey Jane before the wing touched down in the corner; Barrett’s extras leveling things up.

While Foley’s penalty on 32 minutes gave the hosts a 10-7 lead, Barrett’s quick hands four minutes from the break found Dane Coles who feigned one way before cutting the other and scoring. Barrett, however, missed the conversion.

The scoring wasn’t over for the first half though as Foley took advantage of soft defence from New Zealand to touch down. However, the Waratahs out-half was unable to convert his own try to send Australia into the break with a 15-12 lead.

That lead was ten points shortly after half-time when the centurion Ashley-Cooper finished off from close range and Foley added the extras.

The sides exchanged penalties with Foley restoring Australia’s ten point lead on 58 minutes and New Zealand’s comeback aspirations were not helped when Patrick Tuipulotu was yellow-carded on 60 minutes.

However, after an advantage penalty was awarded to the All Blacks on 67 minutes, Aaron Smith dived between the Wallabies defence after taking a quick tap, Barrett again nailing the conversion to make it 25-22.

With five minutes to play, Kieran Reed was penalised for not rolling away and Nick White’s 45m penalty gave Australia a six point lead. As we’ve come to expect with this New Zealand team though, the game was far from finished.

With tired Australian defenders unable to live with the All Blacks’ quick ball, Fekitoa crossed the whitewash as time expired. Despite the tricky angle for a right-footer, Slade made no mistake to hand New Zealand victory.

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