Match Centre: New Zealand 23-20 Australia

Richie Mo'unga kicked two penalties for New Zealand
Richie Mo'unga kicked two penalties for New Zealand
©Steve Haag

New Zealand 23-20 Australia, Dunedin

A spirited second half performance saw New Zealand managed to overcome Australia with a 23-20 margin in the second Bledisloe Cup clash in Dunedin on Saturday.

The All Blacks entered the competition having already claimed the Bledisloe Cup for the 21st consecutive year following their win in Melbourne and they ensured they maintained their winning streak this year.

The Wallabies made a late change to the replacements with Matt Faessler replacing injured Jordan Uelese and they made a blistering start to the competition as Jordan Petaia sent a perfect pass to Marika Koroibete, who went past a couple of tacklers to touchdown in the 4th minute. Carter Gordon followed with the conversion to give an early lead to the visitors.

Eddie Jones' men went on to double the lead by the seventh minute as Samu Kerevi offloaded to Tom Hooper, who went past tackles from Damian McKenzie and Shaun Stevenson to crossover for their second try. Gordon was once again spot on with the conversion to make it 0-14.

The All Blacks got their first points by the 15th minute as Petaia had a knock-on allowing Damian McKenzie to kick a penalty goal reducing the gap down to 11 points before it was cancelled out when Gordon kicked a three-pointer of his own in the 23rd minute as New Zealand strayed offside.

Australia had a chance to extend their lead as Tate McDermott looked to go over the line but was stopped by a desperate tackle from Ardie Savea as the teams completed the opening half with a 3-17 scoreline.

The All Blacks were the quickest to get off the block in the second half as a long pass allowed Shaun Stevenson to dive in the corner and McKenzie improved to make it 10-17 and it became a four point game as the Wallabies were penalised for not rolling away and Richie Mo'unga kicked a three-pointer to mark his presence.

The start of the final quarter saw Gordon missing a penalty kick from a 35m range but Ian Foster's men went on to claim the lead for the first time in the game with Samipeni Finau going past three defenders to dot down and Mo’unga was spot on with the conversion to make it 20-17.

With seven minutes left in the game, New Zealand were penalised at breakdown and Quade Cooper kicked a 48m penalty goal to level the scores but the decisive blow came in the final minute as Mo'unga kicked a scrum penalty to steer his team through.

Team line up:

New Zealand: 1 Tamaiti Williams, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Samipeni Finau, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 8 Ardie Savea, 9 Finlay Christie, 10 Damian McKenzie, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 13 Braydon Ennor, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 15 Will Jordan.

Reserves: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Dallas McLeod.

Australia: 1 Angus Bell, 2 David Porecki, 3 Pone Fa’amausili, 4 Nick Frost, 5 Richie Arnold, 6 Tom Hooper, 7 Fraser McReight, 8 Rob Valetini, 9 Tate McDermott (captain), 10 Carter Gordon, 11 Marika Koroibete, 12 Samu Kerevi, 13 Jordan Petaia, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 15 Andrew Kellaway.

Reserves: 16 Matt Faessler, 17 James Slipper, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Izaia Perese.