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Dark memories spur the All Blacks on
By Tim Brimblecombe
July 16, 2000

Bitter memories of the disastrous World Cup semi-final against France came flooding back for All Black fans at Stadium Australia on Saturday night.

On that dark afternoon at Twickenham, the All Blacks led 24-10 only to let France surge home for a 43-31 victory.

It looked like history was going to repeat itself after the All Blacks raced to a 24-0, only to see the Wallabies strike back to take a 27-24 lead. Fortunately for All Black fans, their side retained their composure for Jonah Lomu to score the match-winning try in injury time for a 39-35 victory.

"If you lead 24-0 against a poor team you can go on to give them a hiding but Australia is not a poor side - they've got so much resilience and character we knew they'd come back at us," All Blacks coach Wayne Smith said.

"When the momentum swings against you like that, it's sometimes hard to halt it. But we did halt it and turn it around in the second half so I'm really proud of them for the way they did that."

Despite such an impressive victory, Smith said there was still work ahead, particularly on the lineout.

The Wallabies stole several New Zealand throws, and at one stage two in a row when the All Blacks were in Australia's quarter. Smith said the side would also look to improve its defence.

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