Friday, September 12, 2008
With tomorrow's 2008 Tri Nations decider in Brisbane in mind, we look back to the inaugural tournament in 1996 when the Wallabies hosted the All Blacks at Suncorp, in what was to be a classic match that was remembered for more than just the winning try at the death.
Right from the get go it was frantic, with Michael Brial making himself a household name as he unleashed a tirade of seemingly unprovoked punches on All Black center Frank Bunce. We'll feature that clip in the upcoming weeks.
Tries by Gregan and Burke gave the home team a formidable lead, but at 25-15 the New Zealand come back was just getting started as Justin Marshall went over for a well taken try following Jonah Lomu's storming run.
With the scores tied at full time, Frank Bunce, the man who was the victim of that assault in the first few minutes, scored to break the 25-all deadlock and effectively win the first ever Tri Nations series for New Zealand.
The Wallabies' only other Brisbane defeat since 1996 came two years ago when All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw inspired New Zealand to a 13-9 Tri Nations triumph in a rugged, high-quality encounter.
It promises to be another tight one this weekend, but if scores are tied at full time, a draw won't be good enough for Australia as New Zealand hold a one-point advantage on 14 points at the top of the table, plus a far better for-and-against differential.
The players are ready. The fans are ready, and Wallaby coach Robbie 'Dingo' Deans is ready.
"We've seen some great encounters in Tri-Nations and you're going to see an even better one on the weekend."