Gloucester snatched a one-point victory from the jaws of a damaging second defeat of the Aviva Premiership season yesterday, a Nicky Robinson penalty with two minutes to go giving them a 22-21 win against Leeds at Kingsholm.
Tries from the No 8 Luke Narraway, the prop Alasdair Dickinson and the centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu put Gloucester well ahead before Leeds fought back, the fly-half Christian Lewis-Pratt scoring a try and kicking three penalties and the conversion of the centre Luther Burrell's second-half try. That all put Leeds 21-19 ahead. Enter Robinson.
In the Magners League, the Scarlets beat Connacht 35-33. The Welsh region, who lost to Treviso last week, won with a last-minute try from the Scotland wing Sean Lamont. The centres Regan King and Jonathan Davies (twice) also scored tries; Fionn Carr ran in a hat-trick for Connacht.
New Zealand are three wins away from a world record after a 23-22 win against Australia in Sydney yesterday. The All Blacks, who came from 22-9 down to complete an unbeaten Tri-Nations, have won 15 Tests in a row. The record unbeaten run in elite internationals is 17, a figure shared by the All Blacks of 1965-69 and the Springboks of 1997-98. The next four fixtures for Graham Henry's team are against Australia (in Hong Kong), England and Scotland. So if you fancy seeing history being made, snap up a ticket for Murrayfield on 13 November. Given the take-up for any Scotland game that isn't against England these days, you should be able to get one.
To be fair to Australia, they might yet derail New Zealand in their fourth, offshore, money-spinning meeting this year. Rocky Elsom's Wallabies have reeled in Richie McCaw's All Blacks over the course of the season – they have lost by 21 points, 10 points and one. Yesterday, tries from James O'Connor and Adam Ashley-Cooper and kicks from Matt Giteau and Kurtley Beale took the Wallabies clear, but late tries by McCaw (leading his country for a record 52nd time, passing the great hooker Sean Fitzpatrick) and the No 8 Kieran Read, both converted by the scrum-half Piri Weepu, won the match.
McCaw said: "We were on the back foot for a fair bit of that game and I'm so proud of the guys. To come out on top in a Test like that is pretty satisfying. When you go behind it's easy to chuck it around and try to play miracle rugby; you've got to stick to the plan. We managed to get the vital tries at the vital times – it comes down to pressure."
Elsom, succinctly, said the result was "definitely not ideal". His team, however, have improved in a difficult season and should head north for autumn Tests against Wales, England, Italy and France with confidence.Reuse content