SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia gave themselves a huge boost ahead of the World Cup when they stunned a New Zealand side reduced to 14 men for half the match 47-26 in a thrilling Rugby Championship test in Perth on Saturday.
Lock Scott Barrett’s dismissal for a dangerous tackle just before halftime undoubtedly had a big impact on the contest but the Wallabies were well worth their first win over the world champions since 2017.
Winger Reece Hodge scored two of their six tries as Australia ran up their highest tally of points in 165 tests against the All Blacks and gave themselves a chance of regaining the Bledisloe Cup they last raised aloft in 2002.
Australia, who play the second Bledisloe test in Auckland next week, could yet win the Rugby Championship for the first time since 2015 but they will need Argentina to beat South Africa in Salta later on Saturday.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Christian Radnedge)