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A trip way too far down memory lane, to the Wallabies’ last Bledisloe Cup win


Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup, George Gregan

It’s an understatement to say it has been a long time between drinks since the Wallabies last sipped victory out of the Bledisloe Cup.

2022’s defeat brought up the second straight decade of All Blacks dominance, making it 20 consecutive tournament victories, by far the largest on record. So now it’s 21.

The ‘little sibling’ mentality has worked a gem for New Zealand over Australia since the Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup win in 2002, when it seemed the Wallabies were head and shoulders above their Trans-Tasman rivals.

But oh how wrong we were!

With another Bledisloe Cup series now in the books, Wallabies fans understand the reality the wait continues. It’s pain Australians are all too used to.

Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup win, 2002
The Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup win in 2002.

So in order to cheer up all the heartbroken Wallabies fans around the world, let’s take a trip down memory lane and wind back the clock 21 years to the Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup series and the last time they held the trophy aloft.

The Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup series win


Heading into the 2002 Bledisloe Cup series, the Wallabies had held the trophy for four consecutive years, dating back to 1998. Retaining the trophy is made simpler in a two-game series don’t forget.

During that time Australia was arguably the best team in world rugby having won the Tri-Nations twice against South Africa and New Zealand, dominated the Bledisloe Cup and had been crowned world champions at the 1999 World Cup in Wales.

Led by Wallabies legend George Gregan, the Wallabies were expected to win the series considering their dominance in the recent stretch of series’, winning seven of the past nine games.

The opening game of the two-Test matchup was held in Christchurch at Lancaster Park in front of over 36,000 fans.

Depending on what side of the ditch you’re from, it was either an anticlimactic game or a strong win, with the All Blacks kicking their way to a 12-6 first game victory.

Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup, Mat Rogers, Owen Finegan
Mat Rogers and Owen Finegan celebrate the Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup win back in 2002.

All Blacks fly-half Andrew Mehrtens slotted four penalty goals to out shoot Wallabies centre Matt Burke who only managed the two penalty goals in the try-less affair.

The Wallabies had found themselves in this position before back in 2000, when they went down 39-35 at Sydney Olympic Park. Australia recovered to retain the Bledisloe Cup in the second game with a nail-biting one-point win.

Back in familiar territory, the Wallabies were on a mission to not let their win streak come to an end just like how they’d done in the past. Australia got off to a dream start scoring the opening try through Nathan Sharpe 16 minutes in.

The Wallabies held a strong 8-3 lead at halftime, with both sides exchanging penalty goals before the break to give Australia a leg up on retaining the trophy.

But things changed drastically in the second half with the All Blacks scoring 11 unanswered points to take the lead with just over ten minutes to go.

Rugby league export Matt Rogers somehow broke through for the Wallabies off a brilliant left foot step to bring Australia within a point of New Zealand.

Wallabies Bledisloe 2 image
The Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup win in 2002

With regulation time expired, the match winning play was decided by a penalty awarded to Australia with Burke converting after the siren to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

The close 16-14 victory in front of a jam-packed 79,543 at Stadium Australia is an image still held fondly in the minds of Australian rugby fans considering it’s been over 20 years since the Wallabies have recreated a similar moment.

The Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup victory is arguably the most iconic of all-time and as the dominance of the All Blacks grows, so does the legacy of the special game two of the 2002 series.

2002 Bledisloe Cup teams

What were the teams for both the Wallabies and All Blacks in the Wallabies last Bledisloe Cup series win?

Bledisloe Cup, Game 2, 2002, Sydney


Wallabies Lineup

  1. Bill Young
  2. Jeremy Paul
  3. Patricio Noriega
  4. Nathan Sharpe
  5. Justin Harrison
  6. Owen Finegan
  7. George Smith
  8. Toutai Kefu
  9. George Gregan (c)
  10. Stephen Larkham
  11. Stirling Mortlock
  12. Dan Herbert
  13. Matt Burke
  14. Ben Tune
  15. Chris Latham
  16. Brendan Cannon
  17. Den Darwin
  18. Matt Cockbain
  19. David Lyons
  20. Chris Whitaker
  21. Elton Flatley
  22. Mat Rogers

All Blacks Lineup

  1. Dave Hewett
  2. Tom Willis
  3. Greg Somerville
  4. Chris Jack
  5. Simon Maling
  6. Reuben Thorne (c)
  7. Richie McCaw
  8. Scott Robertson
  9. Justin Marshall
  10. Caleb Ralph
  11. Aaron Mauger
  12. Tana Umaga
  13. Tana Umaga
  14. Doug Howlett
  15. Christian Cullen
  16. Andrew Hore
  17. Joe McDonnell
  18. Marty Holah
  19. Sam Broomhall
  20. Byron Kelleher
  21. Daryl Gibson
  22. Leon MacDonald

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