Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Kiwis beat Kangaroos 26-24

Kiwis beat Kangaroos 26-24

"I hate losing to be honest with you, I think we all do", Meninga said.

"It's unbelievable, surreal", said Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who was captaining New Zealand for the first time.

The Kiwis stunned the Kangaroos with a 26-24 win at Mt Smart Stadium last night.

It was the first time in six years that New Zealand have beaten their nearest neighbours and reigning World champions. We are at a stage in our transition that we have a bit of work to do.

A second dubious call of the night, this time in favour of the hosts, saw a Brandon Smith try given despite suggestions of a double movement from the hooker and Johnson then showed great footwork to initiate a move that ended with Esan Marsters going over. "They took it up for the crowd and our country and did our families proud".

Holmes's 12th try in his last four Test appearances struck fear into the hearts of New Zealand fans that the new look Kangaroos would be just as dominant as previous versions, after rookie centre Latrell Mitchell drew Jordan Rapana to create an overlap for the Cronulla star over in the third minute.

The Junior Kiwis produced a series of highlight moments, none better than when Chanel Harris-Tavita threw the ball behind himself, flicked it up with his heel and regathered for Isaiah Papali'i to give the home side a 12-6 lead.

Some streets around Mt Smart Stadium are lined with Tongan flags and houses decked out in red and white.

Australia, in contrast, is rebuilding after the retirements of veterans Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, and New Zealand took advantage of a leadership vacuum.

The Australians scored an early try to Valentine Holmes, but they suffered a blow when they lost halfback Luke Keary on 17 minutes.

It was a remarkable effort for the Kangaroos to lead 12-8 at half-time given New Zealand had 69% of possession but the Kiwis dominated the second half. "We didn't give ourselves much chance but we stuck to it and it was a tight finish". New Zealand pressured the Australian line for nearly 25 minutes through the middle of the first half and came up with tries to Ken Maumalo and Manu which were both unconverted.

The Kiwis were near faultless in the match; they won penalties, forced dropouts and continued to build pressure on the Kangaroos.

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