Wallabies vs All Blacks Live Rugby
The Wallabies had been blitzed in the opening minutes. Tana Umaga scored in the second minute off an intercepted pass. The man-mountain Jonah Lomu speared down the sideline before flicking inside to Pita Alatini for the second, just moments after the restart. Fullback Christian Cullen made it three tries inside five minutes.
It could have been 28-0 soon after if not for George Gregan. The smallest player on the park was the last line of defence against the biggest man on the pitch, the late, great Lomu. A fourth try would have all-but-ended the match there and then.
Lomu busted three Wallabies tacklesd and roared down the wing at full flight. Gregan chased him down, reefed on his sleeve and pulled the big man to the turf.
The Wallabies had been handed a reprieve from the slaughter, though a penalty soon after made it 24-0 after eight minutes.
The Wallabies were at sixes and sevens. They had had just one percent possession in the first five minutes — fullback Chris Latham having caught the ball then gifting it to Umaga for the opening try.
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Then came the fightback.
Finally the Wallabies got the ball, and by the tenth minute they'd scored. Stirling Mortlock got on the end of an inch-perfect pass from Stephen Larkham - try number one. Mortlock doubled up in the 19th minute, before Latham made the pressure pay - and made up for his earlier gaffe - by punching through the line to make it three.
When Mortlock's fellow Wallabies winger Joe Roff found the white line, it was four, and 24-all by halftime.
It had been one of the most scinitallting, unbelievable halves in rugby history. The 1999 Rugby World Cup champions had been blasted out of the water in the first five minutes, made to look like schoolboys playing touch football on defence.
The All Blacks had been dumped out by France in the semi-finals in 1999 in the monstrously high-scoring 43-31, having led 24-10. They'd lost the Bledisloe that year too, 3-0.
They were fired up, out to make a statement. They weren't about to allow Australia to repeat their 28-7 victory in front of a whopping 107,000-odd fans at the same arena a year prior.
The same venue - Stadium Australia - would go on to open the Sydney 2000 Olympics just two months later. These were the halcyon days of Australian sport.
This particular night witnessed a brutal rugby war between two brilliant sides at the top of their games, though a handful of errors is one reason some still deny the game was the greatest ever.
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