Rogers leads rout of New Zealand

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The Independent Online

Australia 52 New Zealand 0

22 April 2000

Mat Rogers compiled 24 points as Australia romped to a record-breaking victory yesterday here at the new Olympic Stadium. Billed as a possible preview of this year's World Cup final, the ANZAC Day Test quickly turned into a rout.

Playing in front of a disappointing crowd of just 26,000 in the 110,000-capacity stadium, Australia scored nine tries to record their biggest-ever win over the Kiwis since the two countries first played each other 92 years ago.

Rogers, who along with Brad Fittler scored two tries, also kicked eight goals from nine attempts. Chris McKenna, Wendell Sailor, Gorden Tallis and Ryan Girdler each scored one try each.

Rogers's haul broke the previous record of 18 held by John McDonald and Mick Cronin for the most points by an Australian against New Zealand.

The winger said it was about time his luck changed. "It's been well-documented my mum's been sick. We've also had a couple of car accidents this week," he said. "It's been a nightmare week and to come out and do this, it's awesome."

The closest the Kiwis came to scoring was in the second minute when Joe Vagana forced his way over the line only to have the try disallowed by the video referee for a double movement.

Fittler, Rogers, McKenna and Sailor ran in tries before the break to give Australia a commanding 22-0 lead by half-time.

Fittler dummied his way past two defenders to stroll over in the fifth minute before Rogers scored out wide when his opposing winger Lesley Vainikolo dropped a spiralling kick.

Substitute McKenna combined with fellow Test debutant Scott Hill to score under the posts and Sailor scored out wide after Nigel Vagana spilled a high punt.

Tallis extended Australia's lead to 28 points shortly after the re-start and then Girdler intercepted a pass from Robbie Paul to sprint 70 metres and score.

Australia passed their previous record winning score of 44-0 when Timmins and Fittler ran in late tries before Rogers finished off a memorable solo performance with a second touchdown in the final minute.

AUSTRALIA: Lockyer; Rogers, Girdler, Timmins, Sailor; Fittler, Kimmorley; Webcke; Hetherington, Howe, Tallis, Fletcher, Smith. Substitutes used: Stevens, Kearns, Hill, McKenna.

NEW ZEALAND: Barnett; N Vagana, Blackmore, H Paul, Vainikolo; R Paul, Jones; J Vagana, Swain, Smith, Rua, Kearney, Smith. Substitutes used: Lavea, Lowrie, Kidwell, Puletua.

Referee: B Harrigan (Australia).

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