Wallabies lift but fall short again in Dunedin
EVEN their highest score on New Zealand soil could not help the Wallabies overcome the All Blacks in Dunedin last night.
After losing its previous two games in this year's Bledisloe Cup series, Australia produced a much stronger showing in the dead rubber.
The visitors were still beaten though, 41-33, ensuring their 12-year drought across the Tasman continued.
In promising signs, flyhalf Quade Cooper returned to form and the centre pairing of Tevita Kuridrani and Matt Toomua was strong throughout.
"It feels good going out and playing well but it's still very disappointing to lose," said Cooper, who was again booed by the Kiwi crowd during the match. "The good thing is I feel like we are moving forward as a team."
Cooper opened proceedings with a penalty after just three minutes before his opposite, Aaron Cruden, missed a shot at goal.
The All Blacks got on the board when winger Julian Savea crossed after a good run from Israel Dagg, with the conversion making it 7-3.
A Cooper field goal reduced the deficit to one, but Cruden slotted two penalty goals to push the score to 13-6.
The Australians countered with another penalty through Cooper, but the All Blacks piled on the pressure and a cross-field kick from Cruden led to a five-pointer to Sam Cane. The subsequent conversion helped the All Blacks to a 20-9 advantage.
The two sides traded penalties but the hosts scored a crucial try to push their lead to 30-12.
Wallabies halfback Will Genia, in his 50th Test, prised open the opposing defence on the stroke of half-time and Cooper fired a neat pass at winger Adam Ashley-Cooper, who scored
A sideline conversion made it 30-19 at half-time.
A Cruden penalty after the break extended the host's lead but Kuridrani intercepted a pass from Ma'a Nonu and off-loaded to Toomua, who crossed for a Wallabies try.
Cooper's conversion made it 33-26, before NZ nabbed its fourth try, through Kieran Read, for a 12-point lead.
Beauden Barrett booted a penalty for the All Blacks before a cross-field kick from Cooper was snapped up by Israel Folau.
Kuridrani crossed for a try from the ensuing ruck and Cooper landed his seventh straight goal, but it was not enough.
NEW ZEALAND 41
(K Read, J Savea, A Cruden, S Cane tries: A Cruden 3 conv, 4 pen goal, B Barrett pen goal)
(A Ashley-Cooper, M Toomua, T Kuridrani tries; Q Cooper 3 con, 3 pen goal, Q Cooper fld goal)