Kiwis exert ANZAC supremacy


Published: Sunday 3rd May 2015 by The News Editor

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New Zealand will head to England in the autumn with their eyes on Australia’s number one spot after completing a third successive win over the Kangaroos for the first time since 1953.

Winger Manu Vatuvei scored two first-half tries as the Kiwis followed up their back-to-back victories in the 2014 Four Nations Series with an impressive 26-12 win in the re-arranged ANZAC Test in front of a 32,681 crowd at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

It was New Zealand’s first mid-season triumph in the Trans-Tasman Test since 1998 and they will climb to the top of the world rankings for the first time if they beat England in a three-match series in October and November.

Sunday’s result, in a match re-arranged from Friday because of storms in Brisbane, looks certain to signal the break-up of the ageing Australian team and also casts a huge doubt over the future of veteran coach Tim Sheens.

Yet there was little hint of the emphatic upset when the Kangaroos scored the opening try on 12 minutes through second rower Sam Thaiday, who got up a head of steam 15 metres out and ran over stand-off Kieran Foran.

Johnathan Thurston’s goal made it 6-2, Shaun Johnson having earlier opened the scoring with a penalty, but it was virtually all the Kiwis as they ran in four tries in a devastating 21-minute spell up to half-time.

Vatuvei grabbed two of them, the second from a Johnson high kick, and Johnson, picking up from where he left off in his man-of-the match performance in Wellington in November, weaved his way over for a solo effort.

Johnson kicked his third conversion and there was no way back for Australia when centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall pounced on a rare error from full-back Greg Inglis, who failed to clear the ball from Jason Nightingale’s speculative kick to the line, to touch down on the stroke of half-time.

Inglis made amends by forcing the ball from Vatuvei’s grasp as he went through to complete his hat-trick eight minutes into the second half and the Kangaroos played with more urgency following their dressing down from an animated Sheens.

Winger Josh Dugan was twice denied by the video referee, who also ruled out an effort by scrum-half Cooper Cronk, but Australia’s pressure paid off on 58 minutes when centre Will Chambers forced his way over for a try on his Test debut.

Thurston’s goal cut the gap to 14 points but there was more evidence that it was not going to be Australia’s day when second rower Luke Lewis had a try disallowed for a forward pass.

Published: Sunday 3rd May 2015 by The News Editor

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