All Blacks defeat Australia in Tri Nations rugby opener

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Saturday, July 8, 2006

The All Blacks have defeated Australia 32 points to 12 in the opening match of the rugby union 2006 Tri Nations at Jade Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand. This victory cements them as favorites to take out the Tri Nations this year- a competition which has adopted an expanded three round format this year. The All Blacks entered the match as firm favorites despite the Wallabies strong start to the season- winning three from three under new coach John Connolly.

The All Blacks preformed a spirited rendition of their much talked of Kapa O Pango haka before the match, but it was Australia who opened up the scoring in the match, when Chris Lathem regathered the ball off a chip kick and handed it to Mat Rogers who sprinted down the left sidelined and passed to Lote Tuqiri who scored the try. Stirling Mortlock converted the try to take Australia out by seven points. Australia's Rocky Elsom was sent to the sin bin in the 27th minute. Down one man Australia were not able to hold out the All Blacks after a messy line out. Keven Mealamu pounced on loose ball to score the All Blacks' first try. Daniel Carter, after missing two previous penalty goals, successfully converted the try. Five minutes from half-time, Mealamu barged over to score his second try of the match with Carter again converting. The All Blacks entered the half-time break leading the Wallabies 14 points to seven.

The All Blacks extended their lead over Australia seven minutes into the second half, with Carter kicking a successful penalty goal, to take the score to 17 points to seven. The television-match-official then awarded New Zealand another try after Richie McCaw grounded the ball through the legs of Stephen Larkem. Carter converted to take New Zealand's lead to 24 to seven with 30 minutes left on the clock. Scott Fava came on for Australia in the 50th minute, and soon scored a try for Australia. Mortlock missed the conversion, and the score was at 24 to 12 in favour of the All Blacks. Carter added another penalty goal for the All Blacks in the 55th minute to take the score to 27 points to 12. A re-gathered charge down of an Australian kick saw Carter pass to Isaia Toeavo who ran down the field to score a late try. Carter's conversion hit the upright and bounced out leaving the final score at 32 to 12 to the All Blacks. Australia face South Africa at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane next week.

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