Australia gave a superbly clinical performance today at GIO Stadium in Canberra, defeating New Zealand 30-12 after being 24-0 ahead at half-time.
In what was Australian captain Cameron Smith’s fiftieth game for his country, the result was never in doubt after Josh Dugan jumped to catch Johnathan Thurston’s kick over the defence to touch down on twelve minutes, with Thurston converting, as he would do for all the Kangaroo tries.
After going behind the Kiwis attempted to hit back with some enterprising play, but when they moved it to the left Blake Ferguson intercepted Shan Johnson’s pass near his own line and he ran 90 metres to touch down.
Jordan Rapana touched down for the Kiwis, but the try was disallowed because of a forward pass from Johnson, before a great run downfield from Sam Thaiday led to the Kangaroos’ third try from Will Chambers.
Ferguson thought he had scored the fourth try, but it was turned down because he had a foot in touch, before former Welsh international Tyson Frizell was more successful, touching down a Thurston kick that rebounded off the post protector.
The agony for the Kiwis looked set to continue in the second half when Jake Trbojevic touched down from a Cronk offload to make it 30-0.
But that was the end of the scoring for the Australians, and the Kiwis finally sprang to life when Simon Mannering touched down on 56 minutes for Jordan Kahu to add the goal.
Tuivasa-Sheck added a second try from a Johnson feed after a scrum, with Kahu again goaling to make the final score 30-12.
The Australians almost scored again in the final minute, but Valentine Holmes knocked on a Thurston grubber in the corner.
AUSTRALIA: 1 Darius Boyd, 2 Blake Ferguson, 3 Josh Dugan, 4 Will Chambers, 5 Valentine Holmes, 6 Johnathan Thurston, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Matt Gillett, 13 Trent Merrin; Interchange: 14 Michael Morgan, 15 Jake Trbojevic, 16 Tyson Frizell, 17 Sam Thaiday.
Tries: Dugan, Ferguson, Chambers, Frizell, Trbojevic; Goals: Thurston 5
NEW ZEALAND: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 Dallin Watene Zelezniak, 3 Jordan Kahu, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Isaac Luke, 10 Russell Packer, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Simon Mannering, 13 Jason Taumalolo; Interchange: 14 Adam Blair, 15 Martin Taupau, 16 Kenneath Bromwich, 17 Kodi Nikorima.
Tries: Mannering, Tuivasa-Sheck; Goals: Kahu 2
Read full coverage of all the Pacific Tests, including England v Samoa, in Monday’s League Express