Australia 16 New Zealand 12: Lockyer laps up golden finish

New Zealand lost their Tri-Nations title, three wounded players and three of their Test stalwarts at the end of a thrilling night in Sydney. A try from Darren Lockyer, almost two minutes into the second period of "golden point" extra time, gave Australia revenge for their 24-0 defeat in last year's final.

Johnathan Thurston tricked an exhausted defence - weakened by injuries to Steve Matai, Manu Vatuvei and Motu Tony - to buy a dummy. He went into the gap and there was Lockyer, so often the architect of late escapes, on his shoulder.

"I gave the boys the message that seven weeks of hard work [could] come down to the last minute, and that was pretty much proved right," said the Australian coach, Ricky Stuart.

For the Kiwi coach, Brian McClennan, there was nothing but praise for his players at the end of their heady year as unofficial world champions.

"It shows the character in the team that everyone kept fighting, but we were pretty much out of petrol," he said.

The game deserved a memorable try to settle it rather than a drop goal, although that had looked the likely outcome after a Stacey Jones penalty brought New Zealand level with 10 minutes to play. Before and after the end of normal time, the two teams tried a total of six shots at a match-winning drop goal without finding the target. The game then went into sudden death, with Australia proving better equipped to snatch the spoils.

In the first half the two sides swapped early penalties before brilliant Australian handling from Mark Gasnier sent Brent Tate over. New Zealand survived fierce pressure after that, but were only four points behind at half-time thanks to Frank Pritchard's try.

Iosia Soliola brought them level in the second half before goals from Thurston and Jones set up an unforgettable finish.

After the game, Jones, Reuben Wiki and Nigel Vagana all announced their retirement from internationals. "They are irreplaceable," said McClennan. "But what they have done for the Kiwis means the future is good."

Australia: Hunt (Brisbane); Tate (Brisbane), Gasnier (St George-Illawarra), Hodges (Brisbane), Inglis (Melbourne); Lockyer (Brisbane), Thurston (North Queensland); Kite (Manly), Smith (Melbourne), Civoniceva (Brisbane), Hindmarsh (Parramatta), Ryan (Bulldogs), O'Donnell (North Queensland). Substitutes used: O'Meley (Bulldogs), Berrigan (Brisbane), Tupou (Sydney), Mason (Bulldogs).

New Zealand: Webb (NZ Warriors); Hape (Bradford), Soliola (Sydney), Matai (Manly), Vatuvei (NZ Warriors); Vagana (Cronulla), Jones (Catalans); Wiki (NZ Warriors), Halatau (Wests Tigers), Asotasi (Bulldogs), Kidwell (Melbourne), Mannering (NZ Warriors), Fa'alogo (South Sydney). Substitutes used: Tony (Hull), Cayless (Parramatta), Blair (Melbourne), Pritchard (Penrith).

Referee: A Klein (Great Britain).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...