Henry: Defence turned game
Wellington - A superb defensive effort midway through the second half had probably turned the momentum of New Zealand's match against South Africa in the Tri-Nations on Saturday, All Blacks coach Graham Henry said.
New Zealand secured their second successive bonus point win with the 31-17 victory in Wellington, to follow their 32-12 success last week at Eden Park.
"Around about the 60th minute I thought the game could have gone either way," Henry told reporters. "We were under pressure right on our line for about three or four minutes and we defended superbly.
"It was a very important part of the game - probably the turning point."
The All Blacks not only managed to hold out the Springboks as they hammered away at the try-line, but then swept down field to score their fourth try. Replacement winger Israel Dagg ghosted past four defenders to notch his first Test try.
Dagg's score was typical of all the All Blacks tries, started from deep inside their own territory with superb interplay between backs and forwards as they built phases, re-cycled ball quickly and ran and passed into space.
"I think we were prepared to play rugby from a fair way out," Henry said. "We attacked from our half and that resulted in a couple of tries.
"The new interpretation of the tackle law has changed the game as it allows you to get continuity and possession and build into points and the guys did that exceptionally well."