The Junior Kiwis conjured up an astonishing six tries-to-none second half form to beat the Junior Kangaroos 36-20 at Rotorua and tie the two-match series at 1-1.
After losing the first test 24-16 at Wellington last week, a series-levelling victory seemed remote as New Zealand trailed 20-0 at halftime.
But, after stemming the flow of points in the opening 12 minutes of the second half, the match took a dramatic turn, inspired by a fantastic chase by captain Martin Taupau to run down try-bound Australian fullback Dane Gagai.
While he conceded a penalty for carrying on with the tackle his feat still lifted his troops, and the effect of it was evidenced by a stinging assault which netted the Junior Kiwis 36 points in 22 minutes, most of the six tries the result of some dazzling play.
Powerhouse second rower Lama Tasi ignited the first by making a break through the middle of the field. Soon after Shaun Johnson ran on the last tackle, flung the ball out in a tackle and Tasi was there in support to sweep up the ball and score.
Within 11 minutes the Junior Kiwis had three more tries from centre Drury Low, hooker Nafe Seluini and, deservedly, Taupau. With Johnson converting the lot, the home side had incredibly charged into a 24-20 lead.
Sebastine Ikahihifo, Sam Lousi and Siuatonga Likiliki combined for the latter to score and then came superb skill from Carlos Tuimavave who pulled off a one-handed pick-up to seal the match.