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Australia beat New Zealand to win Rugby Championship

Michael Cheika's Australia are the first side other than New Zealand to win the Rugby Championship.
Michael Cheika's Australia are the first side other than New Zealand to win the Rugby Championship. Reuters/David Gray

Australia claimed the local bragging rights on Saturday following their win over New Zealand. They've wrested the Rugby Championship crown from Wellington for the first time since the tournament was set up in 2012.

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Australia saw off New Zealand for the first time since 2011 to win the four nation Rugby Championship.

Scrum-half Nic White scored a long-range penalty goal, then sneaked a try and kicked the conversion in the final minutes to give Australia a 27-19 win before 73,824 fans at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. 

It ended a 10-match losing run against the All Blacks and gave them their first Rugby Championship since the Tri-Nations series with South Africa was expanded in 2012 to include Argentina.

New Zealand had claimed the Rugby Championship since the revamp and the victory will be a morale boost for Michael Cheika's Australia just over a month before the start of the World Cup in England and Wales.

"You don't just say you've won once in quite a long time and you've done something special," said Cheika. "It's about preparation, trying to improve every day, and we'll try and improve again tomorrow." .

The 2015 Rugby Championship has been shortened to allow teams time to prepare for the World Cup. Under the usual format there are six matches - home and away games.

"It's nice for the lads," added Cheika. "But it's an abridged Rugby Championship so it's only the three games. We want to test ourselves over more games."

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen admitted his side had been beaten by a better team. "They outmuscled us at scrum time. They won the battle over the ball and under the body at the breakdown," Hansen said. "It's an inconvenient fact. But we've been here before, we've lost games before and doesn't mean to say we've become a bad side.

"We've just got to go away now and have a really good look at ourselves while we're hurting, which is not a thing that we've had to do too often."

New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw, who played his 141st international to equal the world record held by Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll, said his team made some poor decisions when they hit the front 19-17 with 16 minutes left.

"We got ourselves ahead on the scoreboard and that's probably the moment that we needed to really get things spot on and make the Wallabies do they things they weren't accustomed to," McCaw said.

"We made it a bit easy through some poor decision making and they took their chances. That's probably a period of the game that's critical. And we've won games in the past because we've got that right and on this occasion we didn't."

 

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