Match Centre: Australia 37-39 New Zealand

Jordie Barrett scored a try in the final minute
Jordie Barrett scored a try in the final minute

Australia 37-39 New Zealand, Melbourne

New Zealand have won the Bledisloe Cup for the 20th consecutive year as they edged out Australia 39-37 in Melbourne on Thursday.

The Wallabies made a remarkable second half comeback to almost pull off a victory but Jordie Barrett's last-gasp try swung the game back in favour of the All Blacks.

The game also had a number of injuries on both the sides as Sam Cane and David Havili failed Head Injury Assessments while Quinn Tupaea also sustained a knee injury. Australia also had James Slipper and Rob Leota injured during the encounter.

New Zealand got off the mark in the third minute as Samisoni Taukei'aho dived in the corner following a line out drive and Richie Mo'unga kicked a conversion and a penalty to make it 0-10 before Bernard Foley slotted a three-pointer of his own to reduce the deficit to seven points.

The 26th minute saw Robert Valetini went past a couple of New Zealand defenders to touchdown and Bernard Foley kicked the conversion before New Zealand replacement Dalton Papali’i was sin-binned for illegally stopping the maul.

Just as the break was approaching Australia were down to 13 players temporarily with Darcy Swain and Tom Wright yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Tupaea and a professional foul respectively as the teams went into the break with a 10-10 scoreline.

With the numerical advantage on their side, New Zealand were the quickest to get off the block in the second half as Taukei'aho went past three defenders to complete his second and Mo'unga's conversion made it 10-17.

A high tackle from Akira Ioane allowed Foley to sneak another penalty goal reducing the arrears to four points but Australia's indiscipline continued to trouble as Jake Gordon was sin-binned in the 52nd minute for collapsing a maul and Richie Mo'unga scored their third try to make it 13-24.

The All Blacks extended their dominance as Beauden Barrett's chip kick was collected by Will Jordan as he went past Kellaway and Nic White to score extending their lead to 13-31 as the game entered the final quarter.

Kellaway gave Australia a lifeline with back to back tries in the 62nd and 67th minutes making it 27-31 before Mo'unga slotted his second penalty goal with nine minutes left to extend their lead to seven points. The scores were once again levelled by the 73rd minute as a pass from Koroibete found Pete Samu as he forced his way over and a Foley conversion made it 34-34.

With three minutes left in the game, White landed a penalty goal to put Australia in front and just when they thought they had the game, Barrett crossed in the right-hand corner for steering Ian Foster's men to a victory.

Team line up:

Australia starting XV: A Kellaway; T Wright, L Ikitau, L Foketi, M Koroibete; B Foley, J Gordon; J Slipper (capt), D Porecki, A Alaalatoa, J Holloway, M Philip, R Leota, P Samu, R Valetini.

Reserves: F Fainga'a, S Sio, P Fa'amausili, D Swain, F McReight, N White, R Hodge, J Petaia.

New Zealand starting XV: J Barrett; W Jordan, R Ioane, D Havili, C Clarke; R Mo'unga, A Smith; E de Groot, S Taukei'aho, T Lomax, B Retallick, S Whitelock, S Barrett, S Cane (capt), H Sotutu.

Reserves: D Coles, G Bower, F Newell, A Ioane, D Papali'i, F Christie, B Barrett, Q Tupaea.