New Zealand down Australia in league Test

Any doubt that New Zealand is not the world’s best team evaporated in the wet at Suncorp Stadium after they downed Australia 26-12 in the rain-delayed trans-Tasman Test on Sunday.

The match was postponed for almost 48 hours due to torrential showers on Friday night – and for Kiwis fans it was worth the wait.

New Zealand revelled on the dry track to rack up a 26-6 halftime scoreline on their way to inflicting three straight losses on Australia for the first time since 1953.

The Kiwis also celebrated their first victory in a mid-year trans-Tasman Test since 1998 in front of 32,681.

Yet New Zealand fans may still have to sweat it out for the stat they desire most – the world No.1 ranking.

It is believed New Zealand will be guaranteed top spot over Australia if they defeat England in an end-of-year three-match series.

Few could argue against New Zealand being the best after they backed up their Four Nations success with the rare mid-year triumph.

For Australia, it may mark a changing of the guard as selectors look toward the 2017 World Cup.

They named the third oldest Kangaroos team for their sole Test of 2015 despite overlooking veteran Justin Hodges.

After New Zealand led comfortably at the break, Manu Vatuvei looked set to deliver the knockout blow in the 49th minute, only for Roos No.1 Greg Inglis to strip the try-bound winger.

The Kiwis’ brick wall defence held up before debutant Will Chambers’ outstretched hand cracked it in the 59th minute to make it 26-12.

Luke Lewis (73rd) also crossed but was called back due to a forward pass.

In the first half, Australia led 6-2 when Sam Thaiday trampled over Kieran Foran in the 13th minute.

Then it was all one-way traffic.

First-time winger Josh Dugan was exposed as hulking Kiwi winger Vatuvei crossed twice in eight minutes to give the visitors a 12-6 lead.

Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson then jinked his way to the line in the 31st minute.

Australia’s frustration appeared to boil over as Inglis held down Martin Taupau in the 38th minute, gifting the Kiwis a penalty and earning the New Zealand reserve’s ire.

Taupau yelled at Inglis before making a throat slitting gesture.

If Inglis was frustrated then he would have been livid after his gaffe led to Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s try on halftime.

Inglis went to bat a Jason Nightingale kick dead as the Kiwis chanced their arm before the halftime hooter – and missed.

A pursuing Kenny-Dowall couldn’t believe his luck as the ball lobbed into his arms to score.

Australia’s Greg Bird was placed on report for a 74th minute lifting tackle on Nightingale.

Kiwi Greg Eastwood (suspected concussion) came off the field in the 69th minute.

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