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Australia bounced back from last weekend’s record defeat to New Zealand to edge past the All Blacks 24-22 in a thriller at Suncorp Stadium.
The Wallabies started brightly as Tom Wright crossed in the third minute, before Rieko Ioane levelled the scores. Both sides finished the first half with 14 men as Ofa Tu’ungafasi and debutant Lachlan Swinton were both sent off.
The visitors led 15-11 before Taniela Tupou scored for the Wallabies, who held on despite Tupou Vaa’i’s late try. The All Blacks sealed the Bledisloe Cup for an 18th consecutive year after a record 43-5 win in Sydney last week, but there were still vital Rugby Championship points to play for in Brisbane. Both sides made several changes as the hosts handed debuts to Wright and Swinton, and it took just three minutes for the former to have an influence as he crossed for his first international try.
The visitors hit back in their slick and free-flowing style as Ioane finished off a well-worked move, but it was the All Blacks who were reduced to 14 men first as prop Tu’ungafasi was penalised for making direct contact with Wright’s chin in the tackle.
Flanker Swinton followed Tu’ungafasi off the field 12 minutes later when he hit Sam Whitelock above the legal limit, as the first half ended 8-8. Codie Taylor scored after the interval as the All Blacks threatened to break away from their hosts but Reece Hodge’s penalty reduced the deficit before Tupou powered over from close range with five minutes remaining.
Vaa’i’ hit back with the clock ticking down but the influential Marika Koroibete smashed Damian McKenzie to force a knock on from the restart and end the All Blacks’ challenge. New Zealand return home to face Argentina in their next Rugby Championship game on Saturday, 14 November, while the Wallabies travel to South America the following weekend. The Rugby Championship features just three teams this year – Australia, New Zealand and Argentina – after world champions South Africa withdrew because of fears over player welfare and disruption amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australia: Banks; Wright, Petaia, Paisami, Koroibete; Hodge, White; Slipper, Paenga-Amosa, Alaalatoa, Simmons, Philip, Swinton, Hooper, Wilson.
Replacements: Fainga’a, Bell, Tupou, Hanigan, Wright, McDermott, Lolesio, Daugunu.
New Zealand: J Barrett; Reece, Lienert-Brown, Laumape, Ioane; B Barrett, Perenara; Tuinukuafe, Taylor, Tu’ungafasi, S Barrett, Whitelock, Ioane, Cane, Savea.
Replacements: Aumua, Hodgman, Lomax, Vaa’i, Grace, Weber, Sotutu, McKenzie, Jordan.