19 Jul 2009

All Blacks beat Wallabies 22-16

5:41 am on 19 July 2009

New Zealand opened the defence of their Tri-Nations rugby title with a 22-16 victory over Australia at Eden Park on Saturday night.

The Wallabies led 13-10 at half-time.

After poor defence gifted the Wallabies an early try to Berrick Barnes, the All Blacks nearly conceded another from a misplaced tactical kick.

But a poor pass from Barnes to George Smith cost the Wallabies the chance of a 14 point lead.

After that, the All Blacks gradually worked their way back down the field, closing the gap with a try by captain Richie McCaw late in the first half.

Stephen Donald landed three more penalties in the second spell to secure a win in front of a crowd of 32,000.

New Zealand, who have now won 20 successive internationals at Eden Park, head to South Africa on Sunday for two matches against the Springboks, with the first next Saturday in Bloemfontein.

New Zealand won the last Test in Auckland, 39-10.

Australia won their previous encounter in Sydney, 34-19.

The scorers were:

New Zealand: First five eight Stephen Donald kicked five penalties, four of them in the second half, and a conversion, while captain Richie McCaw scored his side's solitary try. Try: Richie McCaw; Conversion: Stephen Donald; Penalties: Donald (5).

Australia: Flyhalf Matt Giteau slotted three penalties, and missed two other opportunities, and converted Berrick Barnes' try for the Wallabies. Try: Berrick Barnes; Conversion: Matt Giteau; Penalties: Giteau (3).