RICHARD KNOWLER IN HONG KONG - Stuff
You just cannot trust these Aussies.
Any reasonable person would have thought that a side that concedes 24 consecutive points against a side that can finish as fast as the All Blacks would raise their arms in surrender and look for the nearest exit.
Instead the Wallabies showed just why Graham Henry has warned they will be the New Zealander's biggest threat at next year's World Cup when they won 26-24 at Hong Kong Stadium last night.
In doing so they ended the All Blacks' unbeaten streak, leaving it stranded on 15 tests and three short of equalling Lithaunia's world record.
More importantly for the Aussies, they ended two years of shame by finally beating the All Blacks and put an end to their humiliating 10-match losing run against their rival.
It was a converted try to right wing James O'Connor - after the fulltime hooter no less - that left the All Blacks disconsolate.
Having ceaselessly battered away at the All Blacks line, the Aussies were finally rewarded with the win when O'Connor smashed his way through the defence near the right hand touchline before calmly slotting the conversion to send his team-mates into nirvana.
The All Blacks had their chances to put the Wallabies away in the final minutes and substitute first five-eighth Stephen Donald failed to find the touchline from a vital turnover.
Instead of kicking the ball into the crowd, he kicked long and it went straight into the bread basket of fullback Kurtley Beale who started a counterattack that eventually killed off the All Blacks.
Having spent three weeks in camp prior to their tour, the impatient Wallabies had signalled their intent to get launch their northern journey with a victory; and the early signs looked looked positive, too, when Quade Cooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper ran in early five-pointers as their opponents continued their worrying trend of nodding off soon following the opening bell.
Last night it was referee Alain Rolland who was whistling the lullaby and even the Irishman must have been stunned to see the New Zealanders make such a sluggish start as they gave away penalties and slipped off tackles to trail 12-0 mid-way through the first half.
Without being disrespectful, it is always foolish to trust the Aussies and from the get-go they pulled a sneaky trick when they switched the kick-off and snared their first chance to score when All Blacks blindside flanker Jerome Kaino was pinged at a ruck.
As we saw this winter, when he launched a long-range penalty against the Springboks in the dying moments in Bloemfontein, Beale has ice rushing through his arteries when lining up such kicks but last night it turned to mush in the Hong Kong warmth.
In the space of two minutes he missed two shots and his playmaker, Matt Giteau, also failed to find his rhythm when he botched the conversion of the opening try to Cooper.