20 Years on from the Greatest Test Ever Played

20 Years on from the Greatest Test Ever Played

On this day, 15 July, in 2000 a world record crowd of 109,874 attended Stadium Australia in Sydney to witness what has been dubbed as the greatest test ever played.

A gripping affair was decided in the dying moments of stoppage time by a try down the left wing from the late Jonah Lomu.

The All Blacks headed into the encounter off the back of their 1999 Rugby World Cup semi-final exit to France while the Wallabies were the Rugby World Cup Champions having won their second title.

The Line-ups

Both teams were stacked with big names with the likes of Jonah Lomu, John Eales, Christian Cullen, George Gregan, Tana Umaga, Stirling Mortlock and Stephen Larkham among the many stars stepping out onto the pitch.

It was also Todd Blackadder's first as All Black captain.


15. Chris Latham
14. Stirling Mortlock
13. Dan Herbert
12. Jason Little
11. Joe Roff
10. Stephen Larkham
9. George Gregan

8. Jim Williams

7. David Wilson

6. Mark Connors

5. John Eales (c)

4. David Giffin

3. Fletcher Dyson

2. Michael Foley

1. Richard Harry


Jeremy Paul, Toutai Kefu, Rod Kafer, Glen Panoho, Andrew Walker, Troy Jaques, Sam Cordingley

All Blacks

15. Christian Cullen
14. Tana Umaga
13. Alama Ieremia
12. Pita Alatini
11. Jonah Lomu
10. Andrew Mehrtens
9. Justin Marshall

8. Ron Cribb

7. Scott Robertson

6. Taine Randell

5. Norm Maxwell

4. Todd Blackadder (c)

3. Kees Meeuws

2. Anton Oliver

1. Carl Hoeft


Josh Kronfeld, Troy Flavell, Byron Kelleher, Mark Hammett, Tony Brown, Leon MacDonald, Craig Dowd

The Game

The All Blacks raced into a staggering 21-0 lead after just five minutes with Tana Umaga, Pita Alatini and Christian Cullen all dotting down for tries with Andrew Mehrtens converting all three. The first try came through a Tana Umaga interception while the second came after a Jonah Lomu run that set up Alatini after just 3.14 minutes. A poor Wallabies kick off lead to Cullen's try with Mehrtens adding another three points from the tee in the eighth minute.

At this point, you would not be blamed for thinking that it would be one traffic with the All Blacks going on to score over 50 points. However, the Wallabies managed to claw their way back into the encounter. 

Stephen Larkham set up Stirling Mortlock for the Wallabies first try of the game, ten minutes into the test and the winger completed his some ten minutes later. Fullback Chris Latham and winger Joe Roff both added their names to the scoresheet as the two sides went into break all square at 24 a piece. 

The Wallabies took the lead for the first time just seven minutes into the second half through Mortlock's boot but they were unable to hold onto it for too long as a beautiful show and go saw Justin Marshall ghost through the defence to score a great solo run by Justin Marshall (30-34)

The Wallabies looked to have won it with just three minutes left to play as Jeremy Paul barged over the line to make it 35-34, however, the All Blacks Jonah Lomu were not done yet.

The All Blacks took the ball through numerous phases before Taine Randell produced a stellar offload to Lomu who brushed Stephen Larkham's attempted tackle off to score out wide and win the match.

 Then Lomu scored in the 83rd minute thanks to a perfect Taine Randell assist to close out a crazy encounter.

The Wallabies did get some revenge a few weeks later as skipper John Eales kicked a penalty on fulltime to give Australia a famous 24-23 win. 

New Zealand: Tries: Tana Umaga, Pita Alatini, Christian Cullen, Justin Marshall, Jonah Lomu; Conversions: Mehrtens (4); Penalty goals: Mehrtens 2

Australia: Tries: Stirling Mortlock (2), Chris Latham, Joe Roff, Jeremy Paul; Conversions: Mortlock (2); Penalty goals: Mortlock (2)

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