Rugby Championship

All Blacks outsmart Springboks

2015-07-25 18:59
Jesse Kriel (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The All Blacks on Saturday beat the Springboks 27-20 (half-time 10-10) in their Rugby Championship Test at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

As it happened: Boks v All Blacks

The Springboks had led the game for large parts, but were unable to capitalise on numerous scoring opportunities.

The hosts dominated at scrum time and wreaked havoc early on at the breakdowns, but the composure of the world champions shone through when it really mattered in the latter stages of the Test.

A try from Willie le Roux in the ninth minute gave South Africa a terrific start, with the fullback running a brilliant line after taking an inside pass from centre Jesse Kriel.

The All Blacks were intent to run at their opponents from all corners, with scrumhalf Aaron Smith opting to take quick taps kicks off penalties. Their approach didn’t pay off initially, but the Springboks kept them in the game by not rounding off several attacking forays.

The Boks turned over numerous All Black balls in the first half and defended like Trojans but the visitors showed their class by staying within striking range.

Despite clearly having the better of the first stanza, the hosts had to be content with a 10-10 scoreline at the break, after All Black wing Ben Smith rounded off on the stroke of half-time when the visitors launched an attack from just inside their own half.

The Boks regained the lead in the 45th minute when centre Jesse Kriel scored a brilliant try, taking a flat ball from flyhalf Handre Pollard in midfield to burst through the All Black defence.

Undeterred, the All Blacks hit back four minutes later when hooker Dane Coles scored in similar fashion to Kriel, bursting through the Springbok midfield to canter through under the posts.

There was a contentious call in the 54th minute when lock Lood de Jager came inches from scoring, but the Television Match Official (TMO) ruled he had grounded the ball just short. Just the previous week, a similar try was awarded to Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani as Australia beat the Boks at the death in Brisbane.

Pollard though did slot a penalty two minutes later to put the hosts 20-17 up after 57 minutes.

The All Blacks received a blow when replacement lock Sam Whitelock was sin-binned for conceding a cynical penalty on his own tryline - after the Boks came inches from scoring following a move which was started from deep inside his own 22m area by Le Roux.

With Whitelock off, the hosts opted for a scrum and despite another powerful set piece, were unable to cash in.

With the game on a knife edge, perhaps taking the easy three points would have been the wiser option.

A few minutes later, the All Blacks had an opportunity get back to level pegging, but Lima Sopoaga’s 40m attempt was hooked to the left of the uprights.

But the Kiwis were slowly timing their comeback assault and kept probing the South African defence in the last quarter. They were aided by uncontested scrums after the Boks lost replacement prop Vincent Koch, as momentum slowly shifted towards New Zealand.

A crucial lost Springbok lineout on 70 minutes saw another All Black counter-attack deep into the South African half.

After several phases on attack - including a bold decision to not take three points at goal - skipper Richie McCaw barged over at a lineout to put the All Blacks into the lead in the 74th minute.

Sopoaga slotted to put the men in black 24-20 up with five minutes remaining.

New Zealand kept attacking in the final five minutes and Sopoaga slotted a penalty at the death to seal South Africa’s fate.

The Boks' next assignment is against Argentina in Durban on August 8, while the All Blacks face Australia in Sydney that same day.


South Africa:

Tries: Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel

Conversions: Handre Pollard (2)

Penalties: Pollard (2)

New Zealand:

Tries: Ben Smith, Dane Coles, Richie McCaw

Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (3)

Penalties: Sopoaga (2)


South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger (captain), 7 Francois Louw, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lionel Mapoe

New Zealand:

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa


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