Australia boosted their hopes of a third World Cup success in New Zealand next month, with a spirited three tries to two (25-20) victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane on Saturday.
While the Kiwis were keen to downplay the importance of Saturday;'s result, the Aussies wasted no time in pointing out the effect it could have on next month's global showpiece.
The Wallabies not only claimed their first Tri-Nations crown in 10 years - their first southern hemisphere crown since John Eales's team won in 2001 - but they displayed all the championship qualities that will be required at the World Cup.
The Australians showed great resolve in a pulsating second half as the world No.1 ranked All Blacks stormed back from 3-20 down to draw level (20-all) with 20 minutes left.
But the Wallabies, led by lock James Horwill for the first time, fought back and ultimately claimed victory with a 61st-minute try by fullback Kurtley Beale.
"It's a significant result for us as we haven't done that since 2001 so that's a biggie," Wallabies' coach Robbie Deans said.
"But in terms of the World Cup we've just put the bar up to that end should we be fortunate enough to meet the All Blacks again [at the World Cup].
"We'll take some real value out of it, that was an important step for us."
An exhausted The Wallaby captain, Horwill, pointed to defence as the key.
"[We are] very tired, it was a big effort ... it took everything we had," he said, adding: "I am really proud of the way the guys went about it."
Asked about the first half effort, which saw them take a 203 lead into the half-time break, he pointed to the team's defence.
"We were putting on a lot of pressure with our defence ... creating turnovers and attacking from that.
"It is really a positive sign, we were forcing mistakes with our defence.
"In the second half we had to defend for long periods at a time and they [the All Blacks] will hurt you when they get opportunities," he said of the Kiwis pulling back to draw level at 20-all.
"[In the second half] we also didn't have the ball as much and we were giving back easy possession."
He also spoke of the significance of winning a major piece of silverware ahead of the World Cup.
"We put our hands on a trophy we haven't had for 10 years and that is sweet," Horwill said.
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