All Blacks v Wallabies - Six of the best

John Eales and Jonah Lomu were both heroes during Bledisloe Cup clashes in 2000. Photo / Getty Images
John Eales and Jonah Lomu were both heroes during Bledisloe Cup clashes in 2000. Photo / Getty Images

Today's Rugby World Cup semifinal promises to be a special match. Patrick McKendry of APNZ looks back at some memorable clashes between the All Blacks and Australia during the World Cup era.

1991 World Cup semifinal at Lansdowne Road, Dublin - Australia 16 All Blacks 6

Australia came into the match following a 19-18 victory over Ireland in their quarter-final.

The All Blacks, on the other hand, had beaten Canada 29-13. Even the absence for the Sunday match of flanker Michael Jones for religious reasons failed to dampen the expectation on the All Blacks.

But things went wrong early when David Campese popped up on the `wrong' wing, outflanked the defence and scored in the corner. The Wallabies leapt into a 13-0 lead when fullback Kieran Crowley, who had been flown over as an injury replacement, fluffed a high kick and Tim Horan scored.

Grant Fox scored New Zealand's only points in a game in which most All Blacks, apart from halfback Graeme Bachop, disappointed.

1996 Tri Nations/Bledisloe Cup at Athletic Park, Wellington - All Blacks 43 Australia 6

The All Blacks put on a masterclass at a wet and windy Athletic Park in the first ever Tri Nations match. Michael Jones, Christian Cullen, Justin Marshall, Zinzan Brooke, Jeff Wilson and Jonah Lomu scored tries, with Andrew Mehrtens kicking two conversions and three penalties. Australia could manage only two Matt Burke penalties.

It was one of the most memorable performances by an All Blacks team, who led 25-6 at halftime despite playing into an icy, southerly wind.

It was the highest score against Australia and the winning margin of 37 points was also a record. The Aussies tried to impose themselves in the return encounter in Brisbane, where a furious Michael Brial took umbrage at Frank Bunce and unleashed a barrage of punches which left the All Blacks centre unhurt, smiling, and a little bemused.

2000 Tri Nations/Bledisloe Cup at Stadium Australia, Sydney - Australia 35 All Blacks 39

It's been called the "match of the century'' and "match made in heaven'' and the All Blacks beat the Aussies in a thriller. It ended the Wallabies' quest for a record 11th successive victory over the All Blacks.

Jonah Lomu played a blinder, scoring two tries - including the winner. The All Blacks scored three tries in the opening five minutes through Tana Umaga, Pita Alatini and Christian Cullen to race to a 21-0 lead. Andrew Mehrtens kicked a penalty to make it 24-0. And then the comeback.

The Wallabies clawed their way back to 24-24 after 31 minutes through tries to Stirling Mortlock (two), Chris Latham and Joe Roff in front of a world record rugby crowd of 109,874.

Justin Marshall and Jeremy Paul swapped tries, with the Aussies leading by a point before Lomu crashed over with two minutes left to win it for the visitors. Breathtaking.

Wallabies captain John Eales described it as the most amazing game of his career.

2000 Tri Nations/Bledisloe Cup at the Cake Tin, Wellington - All Blacks 23 Australia 24

After the action, the reaction. John Eales was the hero for the Wallabies, with the skipper and lock kicking a last-minute penalty to win another thriller between the sides and retain the Bledisloe Cup. An early Stirling Mortlock try gave the Wallabies an advantage which they built on with a Joe Roff touchdown.

Back came the All Blacks and Christian Cullen scored a double, with a couple of Andrew Mehrtens penalties turning it New Zealand's way at halftime 20-18. Defence dominated the second half, with only three penalties scored. Eales kicked the crucial one following a lineout blunder from the All Blacks.

2003 World Cup semifinal at Telstra Stadium, Sydney - Australia 22 All Blacks 10

Lulled into a false sense of security following two comfortable Tri Nations victories earlier in the year, the All Blacks fell again to the Aussies in a World Cup.

The Wallabies simply dominated possession and then defended well, with the All Blacks not helping themselves by gifting the home team easy points _ like the Stirling Mortlock intercept of a Carlos Spencer pass which was Australia's only try.

Spencer went some way to making amends by setting up a try for captain Reuben Thorne in the second half, but that was all the All Blacks could manage.

Elton Flatley landed six of his seven chances at goal. Cue national mourning and an end to the coaching reign of John Mitchell.

August 2011 Tri Nations/Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park, Auckland - All Blacks 30 Australia 14

This is one match the All Blacks can look back on for inspiration. Their forwards blew their opposites off the park, snuffing out the twin threats of Will Genia and Quade Cooper by forcing them onto the back foot. Cooper ran out of tricks and in the end looked a bit foolish as he tried increasingly outlandish ways of getting past the All Blacks defence.

The All Blacks took a 17-0 lead into halftime thanks to tries from Ma'a Nonu and Keven Mealamu and two conversions and a penalty from Dan Carter.

Carter scored a dropped goal early in the second half before Digby Ioane scored for the Wallabies, who later added a consolation try when Rocky Elsom went over.

More good omens? James O'Connor had a horror night with the boot, missing three easy kicks.

- APNZ

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