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TOWNSVILLE, Australia: Johnathan Thurston kicked his 100th Test goal as Australia’s Kangaroos finished strongly for a hard-fought 18-10 rugby league win over New Zealand in Townsville yesterday.
The Kangaroos downed the reigning World Cup champions three tries to two a year out from the next World Cup tournament in England.
Australia broke open a 10-all deadlock to prove superior to New Zealand in Townsville’s tropical heat and clinched the Test match with a converted try by winger Darius Boyd nine minutes from time.
It was Australia’s fifth straight victory over New Zealand since they lost the final of the 2010 Four Nations tournament to the Kiwis 16-12 in Brisbane.
Thurston’s first of three goals brought up his 100th Test goal and he was at the heart of Australia’s attacks along with scrum-half Cooper Cronk.
The Kiwis grabbed a seventh-minute lead when hooker Issac Luke ploughed over for a try from dummy-half, before his Australian counterpart and skipper Cameron Smith speared through an opening to score 16 minutes later.
The Australians looked to be getting on top when prop James Tamou, playing on his home club ground, charged over in the 34th minute off a delayed Cronk pass.
Meanwhile, the Australians will be bolster with the return of Wycliff Palu, Sekope Kepu and Drew Mitchell for next Saturday’s final Bledisloe Cup Test against World Cup winners New Zealand in Brisbane, it was announced in Sydney yesterday.
Utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper, who missed last weekend’s 25-19 win over Argentina in Rosario due to concussion, also returned to beef up the side that has been hit hard by injuries.
A shoulder injury kept number eight Palu out of the squad since last year’s Rugby World Cup, while prop Kepu played the Bledisloe Cup opener in August before hurting his knee in training which ended his participation in the inaugural Rugby Championship.
Mitchell, another long term injury concern who has managed only four Tests in the last two years, has returned from an ankle injury sustained during his first test of the season against New Zealand at Eden Park in August.agencies