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New Zealand win 2017 Bledisloe Cup

New Zealand All Blacks defeat Australia Wallabies to win Bledisloe Cup again

Under the leadership of winning coach Steve Hansen and team captain Kieran Read, New Zealand won the Bledisloe Cup and 2017 Rugby Championship. However, the Aussie Wallabies did manage to win one test 23-18 against their arch-rivals in the Championship series in the very last match of the Bledisloe Cup in Brisbane. With Australia coach Michael Cheika and team captain Michael Hooper in charge, the victory inspired by Reese Hodge gave new hope to Australia knowing they are able to defeat New Zealand and are improving and getting more dangerous going into the upcoming Autumn Internationals that will be played in the United Kingdom beginning in November. Only two matches in the 3-game Bledisloe Cup series count towards the Rugby Championship, the annual contest between Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.So despite the Wallabies victory, New Zealand had actually already won the Rugby Championship for the 15th year in a row earlier in October when they defeated South Africa before they lost to Australia in Brisbane. The Bledisloe Cup is an ongoing historic contest between Australia and New Zealand.

Australia fell agonisingly short in Dunedin as the New Zealand All Blacks clinched their 15th-straight Bledisloe Cup victory and the Wallabies suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the All Blacks late in the match to lose the Bledisloe Cup again despite leading with two minutes left on the clock. After previously suffering a record defeat in Sydney, Australia turned in an impressively strong performance in Dunedin and held a one-point lead with seconds left after a late Kurtley Beale try. But the titan All Blacks grabbed the victory, - dening a first Wallabies win on Kiwi soil in 17 years when Beauden Barrett got his third try in the 78th minute. The Wallabies demonstrated character, belief and tremendous fighting spirit as they scored five tries. However Bernard Foley missed four from six kicks and Barrett nailed all his kicks off the tee. The Wallabies opened the scoring with a try within 26 seconds - and 3 inside the first 15 minutes - to establish a surprising 17-0 lead. But the Kiwis fought back, and went ahead 21-17 in the 60th minute. But Australia kept the pressure on with a much-improved brutal defense instead of giving up and the charges of forward Sean McMahon gave Australia the lead again through a 66th minute Will Genia try. New Zealand responded and took back the lead through a Ben Smith try in the 70th minute. Australia came back, surging downfield, Beale scored. The Wallabies had to hold on for three more minutes but they dropped the restart and a Kieran Read break helped Barrett go over and New Zealand secured the Bledisloe Cup for a 15th straight year in a close fight for the trophy.

“That’s the future of Australian rugby,” captain Michael Hooper said. “It was close. It was a fantastic performance, we came here with confidence we could win tonight but they were too good.” New Zealand captain Read talked about the match against the Wallabies. “We had to deep dig deep,” said Read. “Congratulations to Australia on a great performance. That’s why the Bledisloe Cup means so much.” In Sydney, Australia conceded their biggest first-half margin, in Dunedin they led by three at half-time, shocking even their fans by shooting out to a 17-0, three-try lead. Israel Folau scored the opening try via an intercept, going strong at a Damian McKenzie long pass and racing 65 metres to score. Hooper threw off several black defenders and raced 20 metres in for a try. The Aussies scored a third try inside 15 minutes. Australia backpeddling scrum Will Genia scooted upfield through the chaos and found Hooper in support, who in turn passed to Foley for a 17-0 score which could have been more but the five-eighth missed two conversions. Next, New Zealand got on the board with an inside pass from Aaron Smith to Rieko Ioane near the line. A scrum loss for Australia resulted in Aaron Smith scoring after the halftime siren sounded. After the restart the Wallabies’ much-improved defence continued in both tackling. The All Blacks lost a chance to score when a strong Beale tackle forced Sonny Bill Williams to drop the ball in the 52nd minute.The All Blacks crossed after another penalty and scrum on Australia’s line when Barrett came in on the blindside to take the lead 21-17.

The first 2017 Bledisloe Cup test between New Zealand and Australia Sydney was a debacle for the Aussies, but the Wallabies performance in the rest of the Championship showed steady improvement and impressive consistency for the Aussies. Since the heartbreaking loss in Dunedin, Australia hasn’t lost a single home or away match in five outings. The victory against the All Blacks in Brisbane demonstrated the belief the Australians have in themselves. Notable was Michael Hooper boldly kicking to the corner for Marika Koroibete’s try, and rookie Lukhan Tui’s clean take on the re-start in the 77th minute as “Tui confidently soared with the belief of a 30-game veteran, not a three-game rookie.” This a Wallabies team that believes in itself going into the upcoming Autumn Internationals in the United Kingdom.

2017 Bledisloe Cup: Australia v New Zealand Stats

Australia: (12) 23
Tries: Hodge, Folau, Koroibete; Pens: Hodge 2; Cons: Foley
New Zealand: (13) 18
Tries: Naholo, Ioane; Pens: Sopoaga 2; Cons: Sopoaga

Australia captain Reece Hodge kicked a 53-metre penalty with only 2 minutes remaining to seal Australia's 2nd win in 19 games against New Zealand. The All Blacks, who claimed title to the trophy in August, led by just a point at half-time despite a dominant performance. Marika Koroibete's try and Hodge's boot after the break put the Wallabies ahead. Hodge then kicked the long penalty to ensure a defeat of mighty New Zealand for the first time in over 2 years. For good luck, he Wallabies wore jerseys specially designed to honour Australia's indigenous players. Australia took an early lead through Hodge's 70-metre run to the line. Next Waisake Naholo equalized for New Zealand before Lima Sopoaga's conversion put the visitors ahead. Israel Folau went over just before the break to keep Michael Cheika's side in the game. Next, Rieko Ioane crossed for Steve Hansen's All Blacks side, Koroibete's effort and Hodge's amazing kicks off the tee sealed a famous win for the Wallabies as Australia defeated their arch rivals New Zealand following a thrilling finale to the 2017 Bledisloe Cup in Brisbane.

Although New Zealand had already locked up their 2017 Bledisloe Cup win against Australia and were sitting in first place in the World Rugby Championship, the New Zealand All Blacks tried in vain to beat the Wallabies to make it a clean sweep last Saturday in Brisbane. The Wallabies gave their titan rivals a surprise with their fight and determination in their last meeting in Dunedin, losing a heartbreaking hard-fought test. The victory handed the All Blacks their 15th Bledisloe Cup in a row despite the outcome of the 3rd test. Australia gave a better performance in their second test lastAugust against the All Blacks after losing the first by 20 points, as New Zealand cruised to a 40-6 half-time score. The second Test saw Australia earn a quick lead before the All Blacks delivered an epic comeback to the delight of their fans with only minutes left to play, winning by six and overcoming a 17-point deficit. Australia showed their admirable character with the surprise victory in heavy rain at Suncorp Stadium, despite low expectations on the Wallabies. Tough outfit Australia are never a lie-down sort of team - and they've demonstrated that they improving in time to give a real challenge to the All Blacks in the future. Australia finished second in the Bledesloe Cup Rugby Championship, disappointed they couldn't do better than two draws with South Africa. Reece Hodge was hero of the game and the toast of fans as he scored the opening try and after taking kicking duties from Bernard Foley, delivered two booming late penalties, the second from inside his own half, to win the match. Over-all, the match was thrilling despite the fact that the Bledisloe Cup was already decided. After coming heartbreakingly close to victory earlier in Dunedin two months ago, the Wallabies now can look to facing the All Blacks as rivals after snapping the seven-game losing run. The Wallabies effort was incredible, and they deserved every bit of luck they got.

“I felt like we had the fight in us tonight, we really wanted it,” said Australia coach, Michael Cheika. “I think it’s the only way: to put pressure on these guys.” The win was a stunning turnaround from the 54-34 whopping Australia suffered from their opponents in the Rugby Championship opener. After the match, Cheika talked about the sting of failing to end their 15-year wait for a Bledisloe Cup victory. “As enjoyable as it was, the disappointment of not winning the cup still resonates,” Cheika added. “We know New Zealand are going to only get better and we’ve got to keep improving as well.” New Zealand barely earned victories against Australia and South Africa in the second games after enjoying first-game demolitions of the same opposition, in part due to Beauden Barrett  being out following a concussion.

New Zealand dominated in the first half, but intense pressure from Will Genia forced an errant pass from Lima Sopoaga right into the arms of Hodge who ran 75 metres to score. Between this try and the cusp of half-time the All Blacks dominated as handling errors hurt the Wallabies. The visitors had only put one try on the scoreboard when Aaron Smith fed Waisake Naholo on the touchline to dive over. Next Sapoaga converted to level the scores and his two penalty kicks gave them the lead. Moments before the interval, Israel Folau took a pass from Kurtley Beale, and proceded to shrug off two tackles before diving over the line to make the score 13-12. The second half got off to an unusual start following a long stoppage as the Wallabies lock Rob Simmons was taken off on a stretcher with a neck injury. After the match resumed, the Wallabies grabbed the momentum once more. A match-changing moment came in the 55th minute when twice they turned down the opportunity to kick at goal and it paid off when Marika Koroibete dived over inside the left touchline. An in form All Blacks side a strong offensive attack going, however Hodge’s kick increased the lead to seven anyway. With 9 minutes left in the game, Sonny Bill Williams drew two tacklers before off-loading, enabling Rieko Ioane to dive over for a try in the corner. However with Sopoaga out, Damian McKenzie took the kick but missed.

Surprisingly next Hodge took a kick from his own half on the wet pitch with a wet ball with two minutes remaining - and to his credit, the ball cleared the posts with metres to spare. Due to a penalty just before the hooter, New Zealand had a last chance to win from a lineout but their coach, Steve Hansen, conceded that would have been undeserved. “They were the better side,” said Hansen. “They took their opportunities, put us under pressure as well and prevented us taking ours.” Hansen asked his side to use the hurt of being defeated and reflect on their first loss of 2017 before looking to reassert their dominance in the northern hemisphere. “We’ll use the hurt to grow,” Hansen said. “For a lot of these guys it’s probably their first loss in an All Black jersey. It’s an experience you don’t wash away. You learn your lessons from it and we’ll become a better team for it. The sun will come out tomorrow.”

Squads

Australia Wallabies
Israel Folau, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Sean McMahon, Michael Hooper (captain), Jack Dempsey, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio. Subs: Stephen Moore, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Lukhan Tui, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Samu Kerevi, Henry Speight.

New Zealand All Blacks
Damian McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Nepo Laulala, Dane Coles, Kane Hames. Subs: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili.

Tries to Reece Hodge, Israel Folau and Marika Koroibete gave the Wallabies’ momentum throughout the night, but it was two late penalties converted by hero Hodge that made the difference. With tough attacking play from Sonny Bill Williams and Rieko Ioane the home team suffered plenty of frights, Michael Cheika’s side showed their high quality and composure to see out the game and end the Southern Hemisphere test season with a victory. Both teams now head to the United Kingdom for a string of tough matches in the Autumn Internationals. Australia will face Wales in mid-November after a brief stop-off encounter against Japan, while the All Blacks have an upcoming clash with the Barbarians in London.

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