Rugby World Cup
All Blacks and Wallabies have history of classic Tests
Sam Bruce
October 27, 2015
Will All Blacks or Wallabies win rugby's biggest prize?

Australia and New Zealand face each other in a Rugby World Cup final for the first time when they meet at Twickenham on Saturday. The All Blacks have been installed as favourites but the Wallabies have shown more than enough during the tournament to suggest they'll be anything but pushovers. And then of course there's the fact they know each other so well from the Bledisloe Cup - in which arena likes of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Jerome Kaino, Stephen Moore, Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper, just to name a few, have battled each other for the best part of 10 years.

The two sides have been contesting the Bledisloe Cup since 1931, and their rivalry goes all the way back to 1903. They've produced a few doozies in that time so join us as we look back at some of the more memorable the trans-Tasman matches.

The All Blacks celebrate their Bledisloe Cup victory over Australia
The All Blacks celebrate their Bledisloe Cup victory over Australia© Phil Walter/Getty Images

Australia 11-27 New Zealand (Sydney Cricket Ground, June 15, 1968)

This match is best remembered for All Blacks great Colin Meads' chicken-wing tackle on legendary Wallabies scrum-half Ken Catchpole. Meads had been instructed to stop Catchpole from darting back into the mauls, so when he spotted a loose leg he reefed it sideways; the action was so severe that it tore the scrum-half's hamstring, groin and sciatic nerve. Catchpole never played for the Wallabies again.

New Zealand 16-30 Australia (Eden Park, Auckland, September 9, 1978)

The All Blacks had earlier triumphed in Christchurch and Wellington to secure the Bledisloe Cup, but Australia denied them a clean sweep with a rousing display at Eden Park. The star of the show was back-rower Greg Cornelsen who scored four of Australia's five tries. Cornelsen later retired after playing 25 Tests, those four tries remaining the only five-pointers of his Test career.

Australia 12-6 New Zealand (Sydney Cricket Ground, July 28, 1979)

The Wallabies hadn't celebrated a Bledisloe win on home turf in 45 years when the David Brockhoff-coached group of 1979 took to the SCG for a one-off Test. In one of the fastest games of that era, the Wallabies were forced to settle for three penalties and a drop goal despite dominating possession and territory. It proved enough, however. Australia finally reclaimed the trophy, and the team promptly took the giant piece of silverware on a victory lap around the famous Aussie ground.

Australia 16-6 New Zealand (Landsdowne Road, Dublin, October 27, 1991)

The first of three World Cup contests between the two nations, and the Wallabies turned in a marvellous first-half display to all but secure the semifinal victory by the interval. ESPN columnist Greg Growden described David Campese's performance in the match as perfect, saying "the memory of Campese angling across the field and bewildering the All Blacks' defence to score in the sixth minute will forever remain vivid with anyone who was at Lansdowne Road that day".

Australia 20-16 New Zealand (Sydney Football Stadium, August 17, 1994)

Another one-off Test meant the Wallabies could reclaim the Bledisloe on home soil after losing it the previous year in Dunedin. This was a gripping 80-minute contest, and it appeared the All Blacks would be heading home with the silverware safely tucked away as winger Jeff Wilson tore down the right touchline. But just as Wilson leapt into the corner, he was hit by a brilliant cover-defending tackle from Wallabies half-back George Gregan - the hit dislodging the ball and handing the Wallabies victory. The lives of Gregan and Wilson, both now commentators, have been linked ever since.

New Zealand 43-6 Australia (Athletic Park, Wellington, July 6, 1996)

Australia should have known better than to ignore the haka. As the All Blacks completed their pre-match ritual, the Wallabies turned their backs to run through some last-minute drills. The ploy only angered the All Blacks, who promptly went about destroying the Aussies in a 43-point massacre on a wet day in Wellington. Ouch.

Australia 35-39 New Zealand (Stadium Australia, Sydney, July 15, 2000)

Regarded as the greatest rugby Test ever played, the Wallabies and All Blacks treated a record crowd of just under 110,000 people to an eight-try thriller - three of which were scored by the All Blacks inside five minutes. The Wallabies hit back with four tries to level the scores at 24-apiece at the break. The second half was far more of an arm wrestle as the All Blacks crossed for their fourth try only for Australia to seemingly steal the win with a try to Jeremy Paul two minutes from full-time. But there was one final twist to be had, and it came in the form of Jonah Lomu - the big winger breaking Australian hearts with a five-pointer in injury-time.

New Zealand 23-24 Australia (Westpac Stadium, Wellington, August 5, 2000)

Despite that loss in Sydney, the Wallabies still had the chance to retain the Bledisloe when the two sides met in Wellington three weeks later. The All Blacks looked to have done enough to secure regain the trophy as another fantastic encounter, albeit without the flood of tries, slipped into injury-time. But the Wallabies stole a lineout deep inside New Zealand territory and referee Jonathan Kaplan then penalised All Blacks flanker Josh Kronfeld for entering a ruck from the side, Wallabies skipper John Eales stepped up and nailed the three points to record a famous win.

Australia 22-10 New Zealand (Telstra Stadium, Sydney, November 15, 2003)

The Wallabies had lost the Bledisloe Cup earlier in the year (the trophy's hasn't been on Australian soil without protective custody since), and they were expected to do it tough against an All Blacks side seemingly romping towards a second World Cup triumph. But the semifinal didn't follow the pre-match script as an intercept try by Stirling Mortlock and the boot of Elton Flatley saw the Wallabies through to the final. The match is remembered for one of rugby's greatest sledges with George Gregan heard reminding Byron Kelleher in lounge-rooms all over the world that it would be "four more years" before the All Blacks would have the chance to again end their World Cup drought.

New Zealand 20-6 Australia (Eden Park, Auckland, October 16, 2011)

New Zealand were yet to win a World Cup contest against Australia, but it was clear from the opening whistle that they would change that in the 2011 semifinal. Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper immediately kicked out on the full and there was only one team in the match thereafter - the All Blacks rampaging to a 14-point win via a sixth-minute try to Ma'a Nonu and the boot of Piri Weepu. Booed everywhere he went, Cooper endured a horror tournament while the All Blacks returned to Eden Park a week later to defeat France in the final.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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