Australia and New Zealand to contest final
by Huw Turner
January 29, 2001

The great trans-Tasman rivals will play off for the Melrose Cup after two pulsating semi finals.

In the first the Australians upset defending champions , Fiji, by 22-14. The Fijians had the better of the opening exchanges and tries from Caucunibuca and Rauqe, converted by Serevi, opened up a 14 points gap. The Australians hit back just before half time through Brendan Williams and skipper Richard Graham so that at the break they trailed by just two points.

The second half belonged to the Aussies.Marika Vunibaka was stretchered off with a leg injury early in the piece and from that point onwards the champions seemed to lose heart. Graham scored his second try to give his side the lead for the first time and the match was sealed by a late try from Robert McDonald.

In the second semi, New Zealand weathered the early, expected storm from Argentina to run out comfortable winners, 31-7. Brad Fleming scored two tries just before half time to give his side a 12-0 lead at the break. Lomu, Valence and Randle added tries in the second half before Diego Albanese scored a consolation at the end.

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