Trans-Tasman tussle

Skysports.com's rugby union writer Tony Curtis looks back at the RWC history between Australia and New Zealand.

Last Updated: 12/10/11 1:34pm

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New Zealand and Australia will meet for the third time in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals on Sunday - with the Wallabies yet to taste defeat.

And ahead of the mouth-watering showdown at Eden Park on Sunday, skysports.com rolls back the clock to look at the two previous encounters.

1991 - Australia 16 New Zealand 6 (Lansdowne Road)

New Zealand had arrived at the second edition of the tournament as the reigning champions - and confident of retaining their crown.

They progressed through the pool stages with little problem, including an opening 18-12 win over hosts England at Twickenham, while Canada had been brushed aside in the quarter-finals.

Australia, on the other hand, had been just a few minutes away from crashing out at the last-eight stage - with Ireland threatening an upset in Dublin. Michael Lynagh, though, scored late on to set up a trans-Tasman encounter in the Irish capital.

The semi-final failed to live up to its pre-match billing as a first-half assault from David Campese took the game away from the All Blacks.

The colourful winger scored a wonderful opportunist try after 12 minutes, with Campese taking advantage of some lax New Zealand defending with an arcing run.

Campese's brilliance then set up Tim Horan for the game-breaking try on 35 minutes. Campese gathered Lynagh's chip ahead and broke away before throwing an outrageous over-the-shoulder pass - just as Graeme Bachop came in with the covering tackle - to the supporting Horan.

Lynagh added one conversion and two penalties to put the boot in, with Grant Fox on-target with two three-pointers of his own for the All Blacks.

Australia went on to lift the Webb Ellis trophy, beating England in the final.

2003 - Australia 22 New Zealand 10 (Stadium Australia)

Australia skipper George Gregan did little to improve trans-Tasman relationships as he taunted the New Zealand players towards the end of the 2003 semi-final.

Gregan's comments of "Four more years boys, four more years!" late on in Sydney is up there with top sledges - with the Wallabies legend reminding the All Blacks about their previous World Cup 'chokes'.

And while there is every chance that comment will serve only to act as motivation for the All Blacks eight years on, the match will show the Wallabies just how vulnerable their rivals can be - with ABs crumbling under the weight of expectation placed on them.

Once again it was a quick start that did the damage, with Stirling Mortlock's 80m breakaway try setting Australia on their way.

The sure-footed Elton Flatley added the conversion and then repeatedly punished any New Zealand indiscretions to keep Australia in control.

Flatley slotted over five penalties, with New Zealand only able to muster a Rueben Thorn try and five points from the boot of Leon MacDonald.

Whereas 12 years before Australia went on to win the World Cup, England this time halted their charge in the final.

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