All Blacks beat Springboks 31-17 in Tri-Nations

New Zealand produced another high-tempo, attack-minded performance on Saturday to secure their second successive bonus-point win in the 2010 Tri-Nations with a 31-17 victory over South Africa at a sold-out Westpac Stadium.

Ma’a Nonu, Mils Muliaina, Rene Ranger and Israel Dagg all scored tries for the All Blacks, while flyhalf Daniel Carter, who had a poor goal-kicking performance in missing five attempts at goal, slotted two penalties and a conversion.

Piri Weepu also added a penalty for the home side, who had beaten the Springboks 32-12 in Auckland last week with a similar high-octane game plan.

Danie Rossouw and Schalk Burger scored tries, while Morne Steyn added a penalty and two conversions for the world champions, who looked promising when they kept the ball in hand but had another poor tactical kicking game in the swirling wind.

The All Blacks again dominated the bigger South Africans and their aggressive defensive line turned back waves of Springboks attacks.

“What I’m pleased with is that the guys are prepared to have a go,” All Blacks coach Graham Henry told reporters.

“We’re prepared to play rugby from a long way out and attack from inside our own half and that led to a couple of tries.”

Yellow card
The Springboks, who had Bakkies Botha sinbinned early last week, again fell foul of the referee with Rossouw shown a yellow card by Alain Rolland in the fourth minute for kicking All Blacks’ captain Richie McCaw.

The New Zealanders took advantage of their extra man, with Nonu and Muliaina finishing off sweeping moves that had begun inside their own half.

The All Blacks had to settle for a 10-0 lead while Rossouw was off the field, with Carter, who had missed an early penalty, missing both conversions though he slotted his first successful penalty in the 31st minute.

Rossouw made amends when he barged over in the 37th minute, Steyn converting to make it 13-7, before Carter missed another penalty into the swirling southerly wind in the final seconds before halftime.

The Springboks changed tactics in the second half as they battled into the wind, holding on to possession and hammering away down field before Steyn added an early penalty.

The All Blacks, however, struck back almost immediately, again attacking from deep and Ranger scored in the corner to give them an 18-10 lead before Weepu slotted a long-range penalty to extend the advantage.

The All Blacks were then forced to soak up immense pressure on their goal line but managed to keep the Springboks out before Dagg produced a mercurial run down the left touchline, turning four defenders inside out to score his first test try and put the game beyond doubt.

Carter slotted the conversion and added a penalty before Burger added a late consolation try for the Springboks, with Steyn converting to end the scoring.

“We didn’t get quick ball when it counted when we were putting good phases together near the try line,” Springboks captain John Smit said. “There were times when … it was slowed down somewhere and in the Tri-Nations you have to be right on the button … if you want to win.” – Reuters

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