RUGBY UNION: Australia's day for records

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The Independent Online

Australia's day for records

Matthew Burke scored 23 points as Australia beat the World Cup favourites New Zealand 28-7 in front of a world-record crowd of more than 107,000 spectators at the Olympic stadium, in Sydney, yesterday. The full-back kicked seven penalties and a conversion as the Wallabies retained the Bledisloe Cup and recorded their biggest winning margin over the All Blacks since the sides first met in 1903. The lock Mark Connors scored Australia's only try while New Zealand's fly-half Andrew Mehrtens supplied all their points with a try and conversion. The All Blacks still claimed the Tri- Nations trophy following earlier wins over Australia and South Africa, but their coach John Hart was understandably dismayed by his team's performance. "That was a huge wake-up call for us with the World Cup so close," he said. "The only good thing about that match for us is that it happened now and not in a month's time." After two successive Tri-Nations defeats, Australia, whose new fly-half Rod Kafer had an inspirational debut, produced their best performance of the season against opponents who had not lost all year. "This win really sets us up nicely going into the World Cup," the Australian coach Rod Macqueen said. The previous world-record crowd for a rugby international was the 104,000 who packed into Murrayfield to see Scotland beat Wales 12-10 in 1975.