Australia bounce back in Brisbane

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There were few signs of the All Blacks team who last week beat the Australians 43-5. The Brisbane ground has been a hard place for the New Zealanders who have won only once in their last five games there.


A player from each side, prop Ofa Tuungafasi for the All Blacks and debut flanker Lachlan Swinton for Australia, was ordered off, and yellow cards were scattered by referee Nic Berry and it was Australia who made the most of them to claim their first win under coach Dave Rennie and their first points of the Tri Nations.


While wing Marika Koroibete shrugged off his yellow card to make a contribution with some punishing, hard running and then pulled off a key tackle on Damian McKenzie in the last seconds of the game.


But Scott Barrett, who was sent off last year in the Perth loss, was asking for trouble, and got it with a yellow card with 13 minutes remaining, when lying on the ground and attempting to prevent Australia's halfback Nick White from passing.


It left the All Blacks down on firepower at just the time the Australian confidence was on the rise, and they paid for it.

The Australians appeared to cope better with the unsettling influence of the cards.


The first half was one of the more original in recent Test history.


Australia set the pace by scoring first. First five-eighths Reece Hodge had an early chance to show his capability in the position when lobbing a chip kick into the All Blacks 22m area where the bouncing ball was taken by fullback Tom Banks who back-handed a pass to right wing Tom Wright who scored two minutes into his debut Test.


Holding onto the ball for almost four minutes, the All Blacks responded with two outstanding sequences with probes constantly testing the home defence, then drew level in the ninth minute when wing Rieko Ioane crossed out wide to score.


The All Blacks suffered a crucial blow when tighthead prop Tuungafasi was ordered from the field for a tackle on Wright – a controversial decision although he showed consistency when applying the same ruling in the 34th minute when Swinton was sent off for a similar offence against lock Sam Whitelock.


Australia's situation was compounded in the 40th minute when Koroibete, who featured with two strong runs, each of them ended by shirt-tail tackles by the All Blacks, was sin-binned for a breakdown infringement when they were under warning for penalties in their 22m area.


Australia were required to put in a lot more tackles during the first half and towards the end of the half they were on the wrong end of the penalty count, conceding 11 to New Zealand's seven. But the situation reversed in the second half, and allowed Hodge's boot to come into play.

The sides were tied 8-8 at half-time and while Australia scored first with a Hodge penalty goal in the 49th minute, the All Blacks responded immediately when using their lineout drive to put hooker Codie Taylor over for the try.


Barrett's cynical play allowed Hodge to land his fourth penalty goal from in front of the posts to give the Australians a 17-15 lead.


That was built on when the Australians utilised their fresh players to maintain possession of the ball with prop Taniela Tupou proving a handful more than once with the ball in the hand and eventually bringing reward in the 74th minute with a try.


Down by eight points, the All Blacks drove into Australia's 22m area, on the back of a powerful run by No8 Ardie Savea, and with a strong drive by Whitelock, the chance was created and it was replacement lock Tupou Vaa'i who scored but time had run out and the All Blacks' only prize was a loser's bonus point.


Scorers: Australia 24 (Tom Wright, Taniela Tupou tries; Reece Hodge con, 4 pen) All Blacks 22 (Rieko Ioane, Codie Taylor, Tupou Vaa'i tries; Jordie Barrett 2 con, pen). HT: 8-8


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