All Blacks leave it to last minute to cruel Aussies again
NEW Zealand snatched a stunning last-gasp victory over Australia in Brisbane last night to win the three-match Bledisloe Cup series 2-0.
A thrilling 80th-minute try to Malakai Fekitoa and a subsequent conversion by Colin Slade propelled the All Blacks to a 29-28 victory after the host had led 15-12 at half-time.
The result extended New Zealand's unbeaten run against its arch rival to 10 matches, from August 2011. The first match in this series was drawn.
Australia scored first in the "dead rubber", perhaps a surprise after a last-start shock loss to Argentina and a week of drama surrounding Kurtley Beale. Nick Phipps dived over after lead-up work from Christian Leali'ifano and Israel Folau, and Bernard Foley converted.
The All Blacks wasted no time in replying. Conrad Smith claimed the ball from the kick-off and winger Cory Jane scored in the corner. Beauden Barrett converted.
When Richie McCaw was penalised for not rolling away, Foley provided his side with a 10-7 lead, before New Zealand's Dane Coles showed speed to get his side in front 12-10.
Barrett missed the relatively easy conversion attempt and not long after Australia reclaimed the lead through Foley, who crashed over from the back of a ruck.
Foley missed the tough conversion attempt, but his side boasted a 15-12 lead at half-time.
When Phipps found Adam Ashley-Cooper in space, the 100-gamer crossed and Foley converted for a 22-12 margin.
Barrett reduced the deficit with a penalty from 40m, but Foley made the most of an attempt minutes later for a 25-15 score line.
From the re-start, Rob Simmons went up for the ball but was brought down heavily by Patrick Tuipulotu, who was shown a yellow card.
Still, the New Zealanders en-sured a tense finish when Aaron Smith stepped around former Wallabies skipper James Horwill to score and Barrett converted to close the gap to 25-22 with 10 minutes remaining.
The Wallabies snared some breathing room when Nic White converted a penalty following a McCaw indiscretion.
But New Zealand has made a habit of clutching victory at the death, especially against Australia, and it did so again when Fekitoa crossed with three seconds remaining.
Former Noosa player Josh Mann-Rae, 33, replaced hooker Saia Fainga'a in the final seven minutes of the clash to earn his second cap, after playing against Argentina last month.