The Rugby Championship begins again this weekend with Australia hosting New Zealand in the first of the Bledisloe Cup matches at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Today we look back at an iconic moment in Australian rugby, when a legend sealed a dramatic victory for the hosts.
The Wallabies haven’t tasted victory in the Bledisloe since the 2002 season and have been defeated in 13 of their last 16 matches with the All Blacks, dating back to the World Cup semi-final in 2011.
If they are to put up any resistance to the Kiwis’ dominance, they will need to replicate a performance that has gone down in Wallaby rugby folklore, that epic Bledisloe Cup match in 2000, sealed in the final minute by John Eales.
It’s difficult to pick out just one memorable moment from that exceptional encounter, from Eales last-gasp winning kick to Christian Cullen’s outrageous set-piece try in the first half. It had everything that you wish for in a game and the dramatic victory snatched from the All Blacks was as exulting as it was devastating.
A repeat on the cards in 2017?
Australia’s form in recent years – both domestic and international – has been patchy at best, leading many in the rugby world to label this year as one of their most important in decades.
It hasn’t exactly been a completely barren run for Australian rugby though, as they reached the World Cup final in 2015, won a Super Rugby title in 2014 with the Waratahs and finished second in the Rugby Championship just last year.
But such has been the successes of the All Blacks and their Super Rugby franchises – three titles in the last three years – Steve Hanson’s side remain the overwhelming favourites and look as formidable as ever in the run-up to the new season.
Below is a 10 minutes long look at that memorable clash in 2000