All Blacks secure victory over arch rivals Springboks

The All Blacks proved too strong for the Springboks. The visitors scored five converted tries to the four of the Springboks and did so despite conceding two yellow cards.

The Springboks made an encouraging start to their crunch match as they showed some threatening attacks on the All Blacks defensive line. The opening minutes of the match was a tit-for-tat kicking contest as the sides sent the ball from the one side of the field to the other.

The Springboks aimlessly kicked possession away, but when they spread the ball wide they were in threatening form. The hosts came close to opening the scoring seven minutes into the match when they set up a few phases on the line.

While the Boks did not cross the goalline, the team nevertheless got away with three points as flyhalf Morne Steyn succeeded with a penalty conversion three minutes later. The Boks, however, fumbled the ball from the restart with the All Blacks going on the counterattack with South Africa's one-on-one defence letting them down.

New Zealand eighthman, Kieran Read, handed off a defender to offload to Ben Smith on his outside, who stepped inside and found easy access to the tryline, with flyhalf Aaron Cruden converting.

Six minutes later the Boks showed their attacking ability as Duane Vermeulen found a gap on the left-hand side of the field and sent the ball to winger Bryan Habana that showed a clean pair of heals to score his first of two tries, with Steyn converting.

The Boks again pierced the All Blacks defences with flanker Francois Louw this time showing some skill as he managed to get a pass through the tackle to Habana, who chipped the ball ahead which he fielded to dot down for his second try. Shortly after the restart Habana limped off the field with what appeared to have been a hamstring injury after he clean caught the ball in his own 22.

The All Blacks responded with their second try of the evening in the 26th minute with flanker Liam Messam touching down, with Cruden converting to bring them within a point of South Africa on the scoreboard. The dangerous flanker put his side back in the lead shortly before the half-time break when he jogged over for New Zealand's third try of the evening, Cruden converted to take the scores to 21-15.

Five minutes into the second half Messam copped a yellow card for repeated infringements at the breakdowns. The Boks took full advantage of the situation as South African flyer Willie le Roux dotted down a minute later to take a 22-21 lead.

The lead exchanged hands once again when replacement All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett kicked a penalty goal in the 55th minute. Springbok captain Jean de Villiers then showed his true grit two minutes later when he sold a dummie and crashed his way over Barrett and New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu to score his side's fourth try, with Steyn missing (27-24).

The visitors then struck a psychological blow as Barrett scored the All Blacks' fourth try of the match to ensure they claimed the Rugby Championship title. In the 62nd minute all Blacks replacement prop Ben Franks received his team's second yellow of the night for a stiff arm infringement on Coenie Oosthuizen.

The All Blacks shrugged off the disadvantage as Read extended their lead with 15 minutes left in the encounter, with Cruden converting to open an 11-point gap with the Boks.

The Boks made a spirited attempt in closing the gap to secure the victory, but their opponents proved too strong on the night. – Sapa


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