Ki­wis stave off late Kan­ga­roos rally for ‘sur­real’ win

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

WELLING­TON: New Zealand and Aus­tralia en­tered a new rugby league era in Auck­land on Satur­day, with new cap­tains and new faces, and the fresh look brought a new re­sult too with the Ki­wis pre­vail­ing 26-24.

It was the first time in six years that New Zealand have beaten their near­est neigh­bours and reign­ing World cham­pi­ons. Aus­tralia mounted a des­per­ate late at­tack with two tries in the clos­ing five min­utes be­fore run­ning out of time.

“It’s un­be­liev­able, sur­real,” Dallin Watene-Zelez­niak, who was cap­tain­ing New Zealand for the first time, said af­ter the five tries to four vic­tory.

“This is the start. We’ve set the foun­da­tion now, so we’ve got to keep build­ing on top of that.”

Debu­tants were cen­tral fig­ures in the out­come with Joseph Manu and Bran­don Smith both scor­ing tries for New Zealand.

James Tedesco, one of four new faces in the Aus­tralian side, scored for the Kan­ga­roos as they ral­lied from 26-12 down. Aus­tralia hit the front in the sec­ond minute with a well taken try by Valen­tine Holmes and re­gained the lead 12-8 on the stroke of half-time with a try to Dane Ga­gai, a late ad­di­tion to the Kan­ga­roos squad.

The 27-year-old South Sydney Rab­bitohs flyer only made the squad in a reshuf­fle when orig­i­nal skip­per Greg Inglis was sus­pended af­ter be­ing caught al­legedly drink driv­ing, which saw Boyd Cord­ner pro­moted to cap­tain. —AFP


AUCK­LAND: La­trell Mitchell of Aus­tralia (right) fends off Shaun John­son of New Zealand (L) dur­ing the Trans Tas­man rugby league in­ter­na­tional be­tween New Zealand and Aus­tralia at Mt Smart Sta­dium in Auck­land yestet­day.

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