McCaw urges All Blacks to bounce back after loss

Australia 26 New Zealand 24
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The Independent Online

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has demanded a positive reaction from his side when they face England next Saturday after their long unbeaten run came to a dramatic end as they lost 26-24 to Australia in Hong Kong.

The All Blacks went into the final Bledisloe Cup game of the year on Saturday on the back of a 15-Test winning streak and had not lost to their bitter rivals in the last 10 encounters.

After falling behind 12-0, Graham Henry's men fought back to lead 24-12 after an hour before Australia's late rally was capped by James O'Connor's last-gasp try, when they kept the ball alive following the final hooter. The young winger then held his nerve to slot the winning conversion from near the touchline and bring New Zealand's impressive run to an end.

Rather than dwell on that, McCaw was keen for his men to learn from a below-par display and vent their frustrations on England at Twickenham.

"We're proud of what we've done but there's a week next week as well," said the flanker. "The character of the team is how you get back on the horse. We've got a big Test match coming up that we need to prepare well for and take the lessons out of this game. There's always going to be hiccups along the way; we didn't perform particularly well. Strength of character comes through in that situation."

Australia: Tries Cooper, Ashley-Cooper, Mitchell, O'Connor; Conversions Giteau, O'Connor 2.

New Zealand: Tries Cowan, Jane, Nonu Conversions Carter 3 Penalty Carter.

Australia: Beale; O'Connor, Ashley-Cooper, Giteau (Barnes, 64), Mitchell; Cooper, Genia (Burgess, 77); Robinson (Slipper, 52), Moore (Faingaa, 62), Alexander, Chisholm (Mumm, 73), Sharpe, Elsom, Pocock, McCalman

New Zealand Muliaina; Jane (Toeava, 52), Smith, Nonu, Rokocoko; Carter (Donald, 60), Cowan (Mathewson, 73); Woodcock, Mealamu, O Franks (Afoa, 60), Thorn, Donnelly (Whitelock, 66), Kaino, McCaw, Read.

Referee A Rolland (Ireland).

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