Toopi piles on pain for Australia

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The Independent Online

Great Britain's hopes of wresting the Ashes from Australia for the first time in 33 years received a boost as the Kangaroos were defeated 30-16 by New Zealand in Auckland.

Centre Clinton Toopi scored a hat-trick for the Kiwis, who bounced back from an 10-point deficit and then survived intense pressure just after the interval. And there was even worse news for Australia, with captain Darren Lockyer taking a knock which places in doubt his chances of making tomorrow's flight to Britain.

Australia were expected to maintain a four-year unbeaten record against the Kiwis, but after a strong start in which scrum-half Brett Kimmorley crossed for the first try after just four minutes, Australia lacked sufficient firepower to keep the home side at bay. Second-row Steve Simpson increased Australia's lead in the 15th minute, but from then on it was all New Zealand. Vinnie Anderson grabbed the first of his two tries before Henry Fa'afili's touchdown was converted by Sione Faumuina.

Toopi grabbed his first just before the interval, and when he crossed twice more in as many minutes near the end, the game disappeared out of Australia's reach.

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