BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — New Zealand scored twice in two minutes in the second half on its way to a 30-12 win over Australia in the Four Nations rugby league tournament Saturday, ending the Kangaroos test winning streak at 17 games.

Shaun Johnson scored in the 48th minute and Dean Whare in the 50th as the Kiwis broke out of a 12-12 halftime deadlock to beat Australia for only the third time in 23 meetings since 2005.

Winger Jason Nightingale, who botched a try in the first half when he dropped the ball over the line, made amends when he scored in the 69th minute to clinch the win.

Johnson capped a man of the match performance by keeping a perfect kicking record with five goals from five attempts.

Australia made a threatening beginning when Beau Scott scored after only three minutes, giving the Kangaroos a 6-0 lead. But New Zealand's defensive intensity forced handling errors and they leveled the score with a 16th-minute try to Kevin Proctor, converted by Johnson.

Australia went ahead again in the 21st minute with a try to Greg Inglis, his 24th in 30 tests.

New Zealand again rebounded, scoring through Lewis Brown in the 29th minute to go to halftime with the scores level.

Australia lost Inglis and Daly Cherry-Evans to injuries, leaving a vacuum in the centers which New Zealand keenly exploited. The Kiwis stepped up their defensive performance in the second half and steadily got on top of Australia, which recorded only their third test loss in 37 games.

Johnson's try, quickly followed by Whare's, gave New Zealand a commanding lead and Nightingale's late score put the result beyond doubt. They now loom as favorites to win the Four Nations title for the second time.

The New Zealand team had five changes from the one that lost 30-18 to Australia when the teams last met in May while the Australian team had 11 changes and missed a number of senior players.

Earlier, Sam Tomkins' 70th minute try helped England hold on against underdogs Samoa 32-26 in the opening match of the tournament at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

Tomkins' try and Gareth Widdop's conversion gave England a 32-22 lead entering the last 10 minutes of a thrilling match. It proved crucial as Samoa closed the gap to six points with a try to Antonio Winterstein three minutes later.

Samoa attacked boldly in the final minutes but couldn't break through. They matched England's five tries and came from behind on several occasions when the rusty England team had drawn ahead.

Widdop kicked six goals while Samoa managed only three to create the gap between the teams.

Australia plays England and New Zealand plays Samoa in the second round of matches on Nov. 1.


England 32 (Liam Farrell, Michael Shenton, Sam Tomkins, Joel Tomkins, Kallum Watkins tries; Gareth Widdop 6 goals), Samoa 26 (Pita Godinet 2, Isaac Liu, Daniel Vidot, Antonio Winterstein tries; Kyle Stanley 2, Ben Roberts goals). HT: 14-10.

New Zealand 30 (Kevin Proctor, Lewis Brown, Shaun Johnson, Dean Whare, Jason Nightingale tries; Shaun Johnson 5 goals), Australia 12 (Beau Scott, Greg Inglis tries; Cameron Smith 2 goals). HT: 12-12.