The Rugby Championship 2014
The 2014 Rugby Championship runs from 15 August to 5 October. An annual competition involving the southern hemisphere’s top four rugby-playing nations – New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina. Known as the Tri Nations from 1996 to 2012, before the Pumas were invited to join the party. New Zealand are the reigning champions.
All Blacks’ winning run comes to an end in draw with Wallabies
New Zealand fall short of claiming world-record 18th consecutive win as they are held to a 12-12 draw by Australia in try-less encounter
Australia prevented New Zealand from claiming a world-record 18th consecutive win by holding the world champions to a 12-12 draw in a try-less Rugby Championship opener on Saturday that left both sides disappointed.
In a gritty encounter played out in a Sydney rainstorm, Australia were handed a glimpse of an upset when South African referee Jaco Peyper showed yellow cards to All Blacks Wyatt Crockett and Beauden Barrett either side of the break.
They tied the match up with flyhalf Kurtley Beale's fourth penalty 10 minutes from time after Barrett was sin-binned but were unable to make the most of their superior numbers and secure a first victory over the All Blacks for three years.
All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden scored all of his side's points with four penalty kicks of his own as New Zealand came up short of a win for the first time in the three years of the Rugby Championship.
The draw means New Zealand continue to share the record of 17 consecutive victories by a top tier nation with the 1965-69 All Blacks and South Africa side of 1997-98.
"How does it feel not to get the record? The same as we feel about not getting the win - it sucks," said New Zealand coach Steve Hansen.
"We made mistakes and didn't play the way we wanted to but we did defend for long periods of time and showed a lot of heart and a lot of courage.
"When you're playing one of the best sides in the world with only 14 men for 20 minutes, it's hard work."
The Wallabies also ended the last lengthy New Zealand winning streak with an 18-18 draw in Brisbane two years ago that stopped the All Blacks on 16 wins but Australia captain Michael Hooper was also downcast.
"It feels a bit like a loss. To get that pressure there at the end and to get the chance but not come out on top," he said.
"Guys in the changing room are a bit down. If you said that you can have another crack at them tomorrow, everyone is pretty keen to do so."
Australia will get that chance next week in Auckland with a third test against the All Blacks later in the year outside the championship also counting towards the tussle for the Bledisloe Cup, which New Zealand have held since 2003.
"It's certainly a bit of a hollow feeling," All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw said. "You come to win and it didn't happen and probably at the end of the day we had the better of the first 30 minutes in the first half and then we struggled to play a lot of rugby after that for various reasons.
"The good thing is that we have another crack next week in Auckland."
The Wallabies had the chance to win the game when they had the ball deep inside New Zealand's half in the final minutes but were unable to have a crack at a winning drop goal.
"[The drop goal] was mentioned but we couldn't get through that first phase. That was a problem for us all through the night," Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper said.
"We were pressuring them a lot, especially in that second half. We came up a few metres short a couple of times, which is a positive thing."
Reuters, Agence France-Presse