An inexperienced and unfancied Australia held their own against New Zealand to draw their first Bledisloe Cup match 16-16.

A frantic finish included a penalty from 55 metres which struck the post, and two drives to within five metres at either end after the siren.

The Wallabies, under new coach Dave Rennie, had four debutants and six players who had played fewer than 10 Tests, as they faced down their bitter rivals in Wellington.

Jordie Barrett found space in the overlap after nine minutes to open the scoring, though television replays suggested Rieko Ioane touched the chalk in the build-up which was not spotted by the referees.

A pair of penalties made the score 8-3, and a mistake from Australia just before the half could have seen them go into the break down by 10 when a misplaced pass from Saia Fainga'a was swallowed up by the All Blacks.

But Ioane – in the open and seemingly destined to score – failed to ground properly with the TMO spotting the slightest of gaps between his fingers and the ball.

A near-capacity 31,000 crowd turned up at Sky Stadium in Wellington
A near-capacity 31,000 crowd turned up at Sky Stadium in Wellington

The second try would come for New Zealand just after the half when the All Blacks pulled off a slick move from the lineout which saw Aaron Smith scramble over the line.

But Australia were not done and staged a remarkable comeback as the rain fell at the Sky Stadium.

Another lineout move and a pinpoint pass from James O’Connor put Marika Koroibete in and debutant Filipo Daugunu crossed on 63 minutes to draw the game level at 13-13.

The All Blacks, against the wind, failed to covert a 40 metre kick through Barrett on 72 minutes, but O’Connor, who struggled from the tee, was true with the boot with five minutes left as the Wallabies opened up a three-point lead.

Barrett levelled on 79 minutes after some poor discipline from the Wallabies, but Australia kept their hopes alive by winning the restart.

Reece Hodge was called upon at the death as the Wallabies were granted a 55 metre penalty to win the game but his kick came clanging back off the upright, though Rennie’s side stole the rebound and drove for the line.

The All Blacks recovered and, with the aid of a penalty, pushed to within metres of a game-winning try, but Australia forced the turnover with O’Connor opting to kick dead to close proceedings.

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