New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter missed a drop goal with the last kick of the match as the All Blacks' remarkable winning streak was brought to an end by a dogged Australia side in Brisbane yesterday.
The world champions, chasing a world record-equalling 17th straight victory, had a chance to steal the spoils in an extraordinary end to the contest but Carter, who kicked six penalties, steered the ball wide of the posts.
Australia, whose points came from five Mike Harris penalties and a long-range effort from Kurtley Beale, also had a chance to win the match after time was up, only to be penalised as they went through the phases looking for a penalty of their own.
Rather than kick the ball out to end the match, though, the All Blacks took a scrum and forced their way back into range for Carter's attempt, a decision that their coach, Steve Hansen, said showed "huge" character.
"It was probably one of the ugliest games of rugby I've seen," Hansen added. "We're really disappointed, there were too many avoidable penalties, too many avoidable mistakes. But to play as poorly as we did and still manage to get the draw was pleasing."
The All Blacks were uncharacteristically error-prone on what was a greasy surface at Lang Park, but the Wallabies were also frustrated at not coming away with the win.
"I expect the boys will be pretty disappointed because that's a game we could have won," said their coach, Robbie Deans. "But putting ourselves in the position to win the game and to hold that All Blacks side tryless is a significant achievement."
Carter made no mistake with his first two penalty attempts to give New Zealand the lead but nine more points from the boot of Harris gave the home side an unlikely lead.
All the offences were in the tackle area and the referee, Craig Joubert, warned the All Black captain, Richie McCaw, after the third that he would sin-bin the next offender.
The South African was true to his word and prop Tony Woodcock was shown the yellow card a minute before the break.
The match was the third Test in the Bledisloe Cup series, which the All Blacks won courtesy of their victories in the first two Tests of the Rugby Championship.
A win at Lang Park would have allowed the All Blacks to match the New Zealand team of the late 1960s and the South Africa side of the late 1990s in being the only top-tier teams to have won 17 straight matches.
Hansen, however, was more bothered by a headbutt by the Australia flanker Scott Higginbotham on his captain, McCaw. "Another cheap shot on the bloke, he seems to get it every week, and everyone seems to miss it," he said.
Australia M Harris; N Cummins (D Mitchell, 67), B Tapuai, P McCabe, A Ashley-Cooper; K Beale, N Phipps (Sheehan, 71); W Palu (D Dennis, 45), M Hooper, S Higginbotham, N Sharpe (capt), S Timani (K Douglas, 21; L Gill 64), J Slipper (S Kepu, 41), T Polota Nau (J Hanson, 72), B Robinson.
New Zealand I Dagg; C Jane, C Smith (B Smith, 52), M Nonu (A Cruden, 62), H Gear; D Carter, A Smith (P Weepu 60); K Read, R McCaw (capt), L Messam (V Vito, 71), S Whitelock, B Retallick (L Romano, 68), C Faumuina (O Franks 50), K Mealamu (A Hoare, 57), T Woodcock.
Referee Craig Joubert (South Africa).
Pens: Harris 5, Beale
Pens: Carter 6
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