16 Nov 2014

Kiwis crowned champions

9:37 am on 16 November 2014

The Kiwis are the new Four Nations rugby league champions after beating holders Australia 22-18 in the final in front of a crowd of 25,000 fans at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.

Simon Mannering captain of the Kiwis holds the Four Nations trophy.

Simon Mannering captain of the Kiwis holds the Four Nations trophy. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The hosts outscored the Kangaroos four tries to three, before holding off a fast-finishing Australia with desperate defence in the dying minutes.

Left wing Manu Vatuvei bagged a brace of tries, while right wing Jason Nightengale and halfback Shaun Johnson were New Zealand's other try-scorers.

Johnson was particularly impressive in the Kiwis victory, consistently cutting through the Kangaroos defence with bursts of individual brilliance and pace.

The forwards laid the platform for Johnson to weave his magic, with several late off-loads helping the hosts find plenty of metres up the middle of the ruck.

Australia opened the scoring through a try to Michael Jennings, with wing Sione Mata'utia and replacement Ben Hunt the Kangaroos other try-scorers.

New Zealand have now won two Four Nations titles after beating Australia in the 2010 final.

It's also the first time the Kiwis have beaten the Kangaroos twice in a row since 1953, after outclassing Australia in their round robin match earlier in the tournament.

New Zealand led 14-6 at half-time.