Australia 24-22 New Zealand: Wallabies bounce back with win over All Blacks
Australia claimed a narrow 24-22 win over New Zealand a week after falling to their biggest loss against the All Blacks. The game was marred by two red cards as Ofa Tuungafasi and Lachlan Swinton were sent off for dangerous tackles
Last Updated: 07/11/20 3:51pm
Australia held on for a nerve-jangling 24-22 win over New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday in a spiteful Tri-Nations clash that featured two red cards.
The All Blacks were reduced to 14 men when trailing 8-5 in the 23rd minute after prop Ofa Tuungafasi was dismissed for a high tackle on debutant winger Liam Wright.
But the Wallabies were unable to exploit the advantage as fiery flanker Lachlan Swinton became the first Australian player to be red-carded on his Test debut for planting a shoulder into the jaw of Sam Whitelock 12 minutes later.
All Blacks replacement lock Tupou Vaa'i grabbed a late try to give the visitors hope of snatching a last-gasp win but Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete laid two brilliant tackles in the dying seconds to turn the ball over and secure an epic victory.
New Zealand clinched the Bledisloe Cup series last weekend with a 43-5 win in Sydney after also winning in Auckland and drawing the series opener 16-16 in Wellington and had made eight changes to their lineup for what was the last match of the series.
But there were still points at stake in Brisbane, with the Tasman teams now one apiece in the Tri-Nations tournament ahead of next weekend's match between Argentina and New Zealand.
A brutal first half contained two tries, two red cards and a yellow card, ending with the score locked at 8-8 and New Zealand holding a one-man advantage.
Winger Tom Wright scored with his first touch in Test rugby for Australia after two minutes and Rieko Ioane levelled for New Zealand at 5-5 with a try in the left corner after the All Blacks held possession for 29 phases.
The Wallabies were leading 8-5 in the 23rd minute when Tuungafasi was red carded after a review by the television match official for a high tackle on Wright, who was making an angled run in off the wing.
The Australians opted against shots at goal twice in a bid to seize on the numerical advantage but it backfired after New Zealand levelled again when Jordie Barrett landed a penalty goal.
And it got worse for the Australians when rookie flanker Swinton was red carded in the 35th for a dangerous, no-arms hit on veteran lock Sam Whitelock and then winger Marika Koroibete was yellow carded for being off his feet when he contested the ball in a ruck just before the break.
James Slippers 100th Test match for Australia finished just before half-time when the frontrower left the field with an injured left arm.
After a scrappy start to the second half, a Hodge penalty goal gave Australia an 11-8 lead just before Koroibete returned to the field to level up the numbers again at 14-14, almost immediately making a try-saving tackle deep in the left corner.
But the New Zealanders hit the front when Whitelock won a close-range lineout in the 52nd minute and Codie Taylor got the points in the middle of a driving maul.
A long-range Hodge penalty goal from a scrum penalty cut the to 15-14, setting up the big finish - replacement prop Taniela Tupou burrowed over for a match-clinching try after being heavily involved in the build up and Reece Hodge converted to give Australia a nine-point cushion with five minutes to play.
It was far from over, though, and Tupou Vaai crossed to reduce the gap to two points with less than two minutes to play before Australia finally ended a winless season against the All Blacks.