Wallabies slump to fifth straight loss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies slump to fifth straight loss

By Jim Morton 03/09/2005 07:52:03 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand 'blacked out' Australia's doomed Tri-Nations campaign and George Gregan's world-record equalling Test after a spirited Wallabies fightback on Saturday night.

Gregan suffered the indignity of leading the injury-ravaged Wallabies to their worst losing streak in 36 years in his 114th Test match as the All Blacks scored a 34-24 title-clinching victory at Eden Park.

The 32-year-old halfback had little to celebrate despite the stunning second-half comeback with NZ securing its sixth Tri-Nations trophy in 10 years with Doug Howlett's third try late in the game.

While both teams score four tries apiece the Wallabies paid dearly for a set-piece disintegration, poor handling and ill-discipline which handed their rivals soft points.

The factors allowed Tana Umaga's men to end the southern hemisphere tournament with 15 points, two ahead of defending champion South Africa, while Australia (3) finished without a win for the first time.

Gregan, whose selection for the end-of-season tour is reportedly in question, promised to play on to eclipse English prop Jason Leonard's record as the most-capped player for his country.

"I've pulled up all right so I'm still around and I'm still enjoying it," he said.

Not since 1969 has an Australian team lost five straight rugby union Tests but Gregan's men seemed consigned to the unwanted mark after half an hour with NZ leading 20-0.

But a Mark Gerrard-inspired Australia turned the match on its head with three in 14 minutes to be within a point soon after half-time.

Gerrard beat four defenders and popped a clutch pass to set up a brilliant try for lock Mark Chisholm just before the break.

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