Winger James O’Connor was the hero with a try after the siren and a wide conversion to help Australia finally snap a 10-Test losing streak against their trans-Tasman rivals.
They fly to London on Sunday night before heading to Cardiff for next weekend’s Test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. They follow that match with Tests against England, Italy and France, while they’ll also play midweek games against English club Leicester and Irish powerhouse Munster. Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who tasted victory over his homeland on his first outing in July 2008 but hadn’t again before Saturday night, was pleased his side had competed hard at the back-end of the game. The Wallabies led 12-0 after 23 minutes but found themselves down 24-12 after 54. “It was great to see the response of the team,” Deans said. “The boys kept pulling on the reins, kept coming, kept probing and working hard and trying to find a way in.” Captain Rocky Elsom said the side was maturing after a breakthrough win at altitude in South Africa two months ago and a long-awaited victory over the world No.1 side. “The way the blokes have grown as players and managers of the game was evident to us,” Elsom said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to start the tour.” The fourth Bledisloe Cup Test in Asia, a fixture for the last three years, will not take place in 2011 because of the Rugby World Cup. It is also unlikely in 2012 with Argentina set to join the Tri-Nations tournament. A disappointing 26,210 turned up to Hong Kong Stadium watch Saturday night’s game with New Zealand already having won the trophy. They take the series against the Wallabies 3-1.