Yesterday we marked 25 years since Australia’s momentous Bledisloe Cup-clinching victory over New Zealand in Brisbane in 1992 – the Wallabies first win over the All Blacks in the city for 63 years.
With this weekend’s trans-Tasman showdown looming large, Flashback Friday is reliving the next occasion the archrivals met in Brisbane – and their first clash at rugby league’s spiritual home, Suncorp Stadium, which has since become a permanent rugby union Test venue.
The Wallabies were obliterated 43-6 in Wellington in the opening match of the 1996 Tri-Nations, arguably the most one-sided Test ever played between the nations. But the green-and-golds recovered sufficiently to play their part in one of the all-time great Tests just three weeks later.
The match started in explosive fashion, Australian forward Michael Brial infamously unleashing a flurry of right hands on an unsuspecting Frank Bunce in just the sixth minute, yet somehow managing to avoid being sent off.
But Ben Tune set up a brilliant try for George Gregan to open the Wallabies’ account in the 12th minute, while a stunning long-range solo effort from Matt Burke saw the hosts go into the break 16-9 in front of the try-less All Blacks.
The Wallabies led 25-15 as Burke and Andrew Mehrtens continued to trade penalties, but a sneaky blindside try to Justin Marshall put the All Blacks back on the front foot. Merhtens then buried a 77th-minute penalty from halfway to level the scores.
As the equal-highest draw in Test history seemed likely, a dazzling backline move saw Mehrtens slice through and link with fullback Christian Cullen, who was dragged done a couple of metres short of the Wallabies’ line.
Bunce was first on the scene and plunged over for an unforgettable buzzer-beater and a 32-25 triumph.
The All Blacks boast four wins and a draw in six visits to Suncorp Stadium.