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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Classic Encounter - Wallabies vs All Blacks 2003

Classic Encounter - Wallabies vs All Blacks 2003

The fourth and final Bledisloe Cup Test of 2009 between Australia and New Zealand takes place in Tokyo this weekend. To get you in the mood, we've got a classic match from 2003 between the two sides at Telstra Stadium in Sydney.

It was the first match in the Bledisloe Series of that year, and with Australia having held the trophy for so long, the All Blacks were out to set things straight in World Cup year. A capacity crowd of 80 000 watched as the home side were torn apart by the merciless Kiwis.

They had hammered the Springboks the week before in Pretoria, scoring seven tries as they hit form at just the right time. At home though, the Wallabies would have been favourites and with the sea of gold in the crowd behind them, they started well with a try from fullback Matt Burke.

The pace was frenetic and in the 21st minute New Zealand gained the lead following a brilliant finish from gas-man Joe Rokocoko as he stood up and rounded league convert Wendell Sailor.

Their other flyer, winger Doug Howlett, got in on the action ten minutes later and then practically from the restart, Rokocoko scored another brilliant try as he absolutely blitzed the Wallaby defence.

It stood at 23-11 at halftime with the home side looking for penetration but lacking to deliver. It was Tana Umaga who did for the visitors though just six minutes in, as they returned a poor Stephen Larkham clearance with interest.

Young Daniel Carter came on for Carlos Spencer when he hobbled off, and it was he who glided in for yet another try for the All Blacks. Sailor scored not long afterwards with a brilliant run and step before bashing over the top of Mils Muliaina.

With ten minutes left in the one sided contest, Smokin Joe picked up his hat trick try, before another league convert, Mat Rogers scored a consolation effort. Aaron Mauger then completed the 'mother of all hidings' as he scored under the posts to bring up the half century.

It was the Wallabies' worst ever loss at home in the professional era, and a record win by the All Blacks over them. It ended 50-21, giving the New Zealander's one hand on the trophy, which they later went on to reclaim in convincing fashion. They've held onto it ever since.

Time: 09:24

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