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Australia draws 20-all with Kiwis

LONDON (AP) - Australia scrambled to a 20-all draw with New Zealand in the Four Nations tournament on Saturday after Cameron Smith scored a 79th-minute converted try.

The world champion Kiwis scored four tries to Australia’s three, but Smith’s score and Johnathan Thurston’s conversion earned the Kangaroos a point in a bruising match at The Stoop that featured a first-half brawl involving most players.

New Zealand had looked set to repeat last year’s World Cup final upset when Lance Hohaia and Frank Pritchard crossed to establish a 20-14 lead in the 74th. Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Junior Sa’u had earlier scored for the Kiwis. Nuuausala crashed over in the seventh minute after breaking the line 15 meters out and beating fullback Billy Slater for a converted try as New Zealand led 6-0.

Australia backrower Paul Gallen and Kiwi hooker Isaac Luke exchanged punches that sparked a brawl across the teams, with Kiwi forward Adam Blair sprinting 20 meters before torpedoing himself into a group of Kangaroos.

Australia drew level after Smith offloaded in a tackle to Greg Inglis, who ran 40 meters before finding Morris on his outside to touch down out wide.

Thurston converted the try from the sideline for a halftime score of 6-6, and he put Australia in front three minutes after the break by craftily stealing the ball from Hohaia only 10 meters out from the Kiwis’ line to cross for an easy try.

Sa’u hit back in the 56th with a powerful run over the top of several defenders to draw New Zealand within reach, and subsequent tries by Hohaia and Pritchard looked to have sealed the match until Smith went over after good lead-up work by Inglis.

On Friday, England beat France 34-12 in the opening match of the tournament.

Scores:

Australia 20 (Josh Morris, Jonathon Thurston, Cameron Smith tries; Thurston 4 goals) drew with New Zealand 20 (Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Junior Sa’u, Lance Hohaia, Frank Pritchard tries; Bryson Goodwin 2 goals). Halftime: 6-6.


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