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Under dark, cloudy skies, the Lang Park, Brisbane, pitch dripping wet, the underdog Wallabies upset the All Blacks 23-18, ending a seven-game losing streak against their Down Under rivals. New Zealand had already won the Bledisloe Cup, twice defeating Australia 54-34 and 35-29 during The Rugby Championship in 2017.
Aussie coach Michael Cheika, criticized for the first match pounding when the All Blacks were up 40-7 at the half, and the Wallabies missed over fifty tackles, benefitted from a wet field that stymied New Zealand’s running attack. All Black back star, Beau Barrett, did not play.
The game was a thriller from start to finish, beginning with a 70-meter Aussie interception that electrified the home side crowd. The 7-0 lead was short lived as the Kiwis evened up the score at 7-7. New Zealand lead 13-12 at the break.
In the second half, movement to the wing produced two, short run-ins for Wallaby tries. The score changed to 20-13 in the Aussie’s favor. New Zealand managed a late try in the corner but the difficult conversion sailed wide.
At 20-18, with time running down, Australia’s Reece Hodges kicked a 53-meter penalty that added three more points, clinching a 23-18 victory.
Since their 2015 Rugby World Cup title, the All Blacks have lost three times; to Ireland (Soldier Field, Chicago), the Irish and British Lions tour, and, finally, last week to Australia.