Australia have inflicted on world champions New Zealand only their third defeat in 52 matches to win the Rugby Championship in Sydney.
Scrum-half Nic White was the Wallaby match-winner, coming off the bench to score a late try and a 47-metre penalty that settled a 27-19 win in a contest that had see-sawed back and forth for the best part of 70 minutes.
The victory ended Australia’s 10-match winless streak in the fixture and brought them their first Championship title since 2011, although, ominously perhaps, no team winning the competition has ever lifted the World Cup in the same year.
“It’s nice for the lads but it’s an abridged Rugby Championship so it’s only the three games,” said coach Michael Cheika. “We want to test ourselves over more games.”
Prop Sekope Kepu and wing Adam Ashley-Cooper also crossed for the Wallabies, who will win back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002 if they can beat their neighbours in Auckland next week.
Wing Nehe Milner-Skudder scored two tries on debut for the All Blacks, whose captain Richie McCaw suffered only his 15th defeat in the black shirt on the day he equalled Brian O’Driscoll’s 141-cap world record. Coach Steve Hansen said: “We’re hurting. It still sucks even if it doesn’t happen that often.”
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