Fans snub Super Test

Rugby League: Australia 34 New Zealand 22
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David Furner and Wendell Sailor each scored two tries yesterday as Australia romped to victory in Sydney over New Zealand in the first Super League Test between the arch rivals.

Second-rower Furner and winger Sailor both crossed the line twice in the first half as Australia took a 20-0 half-time lead and then held off a fast-finishing Kiwi team in the second half.

Lock Darren Smith and rookie hooker Craig Gower also scored tries for Australia while Ryan Girdler kicked four goals. New Zealand's points came from tries for the scrum-half Stacey Jones, the winger Daryl Halligan, the Test debutant Robbie Paul and the wing Sean Hoppe, while Halligan kicked three goals.

The match was watched by a disappointing crowd of 23,829 at the Sydney Football Stadium as Rupert Murdoch's breakaway Super League competition struggles to capture the imagination of Australian fans.

Australia dominated the first 20 minutes without scoring, but then ran in four tries in the space of 12 minutes, taking advantage of poor New Zealand defence and the hesitancy of stand-off Gene Ngamu.

Furner ran 35 metres to score the first try after a superb angled pass by his Canberra team-mate Laurie Daley and then crossed again three minutes later after concerted Australian pressure.

Sailor touched down in the 29th minute after good work by replacement forward Matt Adamson and then ripped through the Kiwi defence again five minutes later.

Jones scored New Zealand's first try with an interception after 43 minutes and then created a try for Halligan to reduce the deficit to 20-12.

Scrum-half Allan Langer opened up a gap for Smith and Gower then crossed to make it 34-12 to Australia before Bradford Bulls' Paul - who was outstanding - and Hoppe scored tries to reduce the deficit.

"It was great effort from our team, especially in the first half - and that's what won us the game," Langer said.

New Zealand defeated Australia 17-16 in an Under-19 international match played as a curtain raiser.

Australia: Tries Furner 2, Sailor 2, Smith, Gower; Penalties: Girdler 5. New Zealand: Tries Jones, Halligan, Paul, Hoppe; Penalties Halligan 3. Attendance: 23,829.