Friday 24 November 2017 / 05:17 AM

THROWBACK THURSDAY: WALLABIES END 63-YEAR BRISBANE DROUGHT

Brisbane – the venue for this Saturday’s Wallabies-All Blacks showdown – has been a fruitful venue for New Zealand throughout their rugby union history against Australia, winning 13 and drawing three of 19 Tests at the Exhibition Ground, the Gabba, Ballymore and Suncorp Stadium.

Australia won the first encounter in the Queensland capital, 17-9 on their way to a historic 3-0 whitewash in 1929, but the All Blacks went unbeaten in their next nine visits to Brisbane.

The Wallabies finally gave the Brisbane faithful something to cheer about in 1992 with a Bledisloe Cup-clinching 19-17 victory at Ballymore, and Throwback Thursday is celebrating 25 years since that watershed result.

Bob Dwyer’s Australian side was coming off a euphoric World Cup triumph the year before, while the All Blacks were in the throes of a massive rebuild under new coach Laurie Mains. The Wallabies won a nerve-jangling first Test 16-15 in Sydney to put them in the box-seat to reclaim the Bledisloe for the first time since 1986.

After a tense haka standoff, Michael Lynagh opened the scoring with a penalty but New Zealand fullback John Timu flashed over for the first try and a 7-3 lead.

Paul Carozza hit back for the Wallabies before infamously being forearmed in the face by prop hard-man Richard Loe, leaving the diminutive winger with a smashed nose.

Australia led 11-7 at halftime but the visitors hit the front when Frank Bunce and John Kirwan combined for the latter to finish off a brilliant 90-metre try.

Lynagh and Grant Fox traded penalties as the All Blacks held onto a tenuous 17-14 advantage inside the final 10 minutes, before the Wallabies capitalised on an error and Nick Farr-Jones and Lynagh swept the ball wide for Carozza to crash over for the match-winner out wide.

The Wallabies only held on after a long-range drop goal attempt by Fox hooked just wide, but the treasured Bledisloe was finally in their keeping again – and their 63-year Brisbane drought was over.

Since ’92, Brisbane has produced a string of trans-Tasman thrillers, will all six encounters decided by a converted try or less.

But Australia’s sole win during that time was a 25-20 win over the eventual world champions in 2011; the archrivals drew 18-all the following season, while a Malakai Fekitoa try at the death broke Wallabies hearts in a 29-28 result in 2014.

The All Blacks head into this weekend Test on a seven-match winning streak against the Wallabies.

[YouTube – Nicholas Cornish]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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