Wallabies clinch The Rugby Championship

08 Aug 2015
Wallabies clinch The Rugby Championship

The Wallabies have made a statement ahead of the Rugby World Cup with a 27-19 victory over the All Blacks to win the 2015 Rugby Championship.

The All Blacks have won every Rugby Championship since the expansion to four teams in 2012, but were outscored three tries to two by their hosts in a thrilling contest at ANZ Stadium.

The result also means New Zealand must win next week's clash at Eden Park if they are to retain the Bledisloe Cup, which they have held since 2003.

This is Australia's first title since claiming the Tri-Nations in 2011.

All Black flyhalf Dan Carter had a poor night with the boot but nevertheless made history by becoming the first man to reach 1500 Test points.

But it was the Wallabies' replacement half-backs who stole the show, making a telling contribution in the last quarter with Nic White scoring the winning try. 

New Zealand led 6-3 at the interval thanks to two penalties from Carter opposed to one from Matt Giteau. As that scoreline suggests, here was nothing to choose between the sides in a high-paced opening 40 minutes. 

Tries after the break by Wallaby prop Sekope Kepu and wing Adam Ashley-Cooper were answered by a double by All Black debutant Nehe Milner-Skudder before White ghosted over to secure the trophy for Australia. 

David Pocock made a great start with a couple of early steals, but Kepu was shown a yellow card inside the opening 10 minutes after making a tackle without retreating 10m when the All Blacks were threating to score from a quickly-taken penalty. 

Carter slotted the easy three points and almost bagged the first try soon thereafter but was beaten by inches in a foot race with Giteau after the All Black pivot had hacked a loose ball ahead. 

The hosts were able to ride out the sin-bin period without conceding further points as the first quarter ended with New Zealand 3-0 up.

The Wallaby scrum had made a strong and earned a penalty that allowed Giteau to level the scores, but a ruck penalty against the home side meant that Carter could reply almost immediately with a long-range effort to restore the gap.

Giteau hit the upright with his next shot at goal and Dean Mumm fumbled a terrible pass from Nick Phipps when a try was on the cards after a break by Israel Folau.

All of the action from Australia's Rugby Championship triumph in Sydney.

Posted by The Rugby Championship on Saturday, 8 August 2015

Consecutive lineout steals by the All Blacks denied the hosts further opportunities to score and a last-gasp tackle by Michael Hooper kept Julian Savea out of the corner, meaning the visitors went into the break with a narrow lead.

Kiwi scrum-half Aaron Smith was sent to the sin bin soon after the restart for a high-tackle on Ashley-Cooper. The Wallabies immediately cashed in as Kepu showed a neat step before shrugging off two tacklers to race over.

Giteau added the conversion to put the Wallabies 10-6 ahead but Carter landed his third penalty - against Pocock at a ruck - to cut the deficit to a single point on 50 minutes.

A bad night for Phipps got worse when he too saw yellow for pulling back Conrad Smith, who had taken a quick penalty. 

New Zealand struck right away as a half-break from Carter allowed Ben Smith to escape before the full-back found Milner-Skudder up in support for the young winger's first Test try. 

The Wallabies moved back in front when Ashley-Cooper collected Matt Toomua's chip ahead and barged through Ben Smith to finish wonderfully in the corner, with Giteau adding the conversion. 

A first-phase attack from New Zealand got the ball quickly to Milner-Skudder, who did brilliantly to get the it down depsite the attention of three tacklers. 

Carter missed the conversion meaning that when White hit the target from 48m out following an offside penalty, Australia led 20-19.

White would be the hero of the night as, in the dying minutes, he sold the Kiwi defence a dummy before slipping past  Codie Taylor for the winner. White's conversion sealed a deserved win for the Wallabies.