Rugby League: New Zealand end six-year losing streak against Australia

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The Independent Online
New Zealand have beaten Australia in a Test for the first time in six years - a surprise result that will boost Great Britain's confidence for the series here in November.

The Kiwis won 30-12 in Auckland, scoring six tries and having another three disallowed on video replay. Syd Eru and Stacey Jones both scored twice, but the key to the victory was a powerful forward performance led by Steve Kearney.

Australia included several players who were new to Test matches and six who were involved in the Super League Grand Final last Saturday. But Brisbane's Wendell Sailor refused to blame the heavy schedule for their defeat by a New Zealand side largely composed of well-rested Auckland Warriors.

"They played well right across the park and Stacey Jones was electric tonight," he said. "We just got outplayed and that's the way it goes.''

There will be fewer players from Australasia in this country in future, if a recommendation from Super League clubs is accepted. The clubs have voted to reduce the overseas quota from six per club to five for next season, coming down further to three in 2000.

Super League clubs have also welcomed a proposal to scrap reserve team football in its current form, in favour of competitions at under-21 and under-18 levels.

They have also chosen to stay with the generally unpopular system of squad numbering, only newly promoted Hull voting for a return to shirts with a simple one to 13 on the back.