AARON Cruden kicked two late penalties as the All Blacks clung on to beat South Africa in their Rugby Championship clash in Dunedin.
Scorers: New Zealand: Tries: Dagg, A Smith. Con: Cruden. Pens: Cruden 3. South Africa: Try: Habana. Pens: M Steyn, Goosen.
South Africa, who had drawn and lost in their previous two games in the Southern Hemisphere’s expanded four-nations tournament, could be considered unlucky, missing 20 points from poor goal kicking.
“They were long range [kicks] and normally those kickers will put them over so we’re thankful for that,” New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said. “They played a very physical game and took it to us early on. That’s exactly what we expected, that type of match from the Boks. I was proud with the way the guys held their composure. Just happy with the win.”
The Springboks faced criticism for their one-dimensional game-plan that involved stand-off Morne Steyn hoisting the ball high into the air and hoping the All Blacks would commit errors in their own territory. But the tactic was effective as the Springboks won several kickable penalties and could have had an 18-5 lead by the break had Morne Steyn and inside centre Frans Steyn not missed five kicks between them. The Springboks also blew an early chance when Bryan Habana was unmarked 15 metres out, only for the final pass to go behind him and into touch.
Full-back Israel Dagg scored the home side’s only first-half points when he backed up his own break and lock Sam Whitelock and No.8 Kieran Read popped the ball free in the tackle. That was the only time the All Blacks could string phases together as they were often penalised by the referee and didn’t take care of the ball at the breakdown.
Habana, however, showed his finishing ability early in the second half when he received a flat pass from scrum-half Ruan Pienaar, burst through an Aaron Smith tackle, chipped ahead and gathered the ball again to score his 43rd Test try and give the visitors an 8-5 lead.
Stand-off Cruden levelled the score with a 53rd-minute penalty and the All Blacks finally took better control of the ball, with replacement scrum-half Aaron Smith sidestepping three defenders to score a try, converted by Cruden to give the home side a 15-8 lead. Replacement stand-off Johan Goosen kicked a mammoth 70th-minute penalty for South Africa to make the last ten minutes interesting.
Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said: “Our goalkicking wasn’t great. At this level you can’t make that many mistakes, not capitalise on opportunities and think you’re going to win. But to put the best team in the world under pressure for 80 minutes is a big step forward.”
New Zealand: Dagg; Jane, C Smith, Nonu, Savea; Cruden, Weepu; Woodcock, Hore, O Franks, Romano, S Whitelock, Messam, McCaw, Read. Subs used: Mealamu, Faumuina, Retallick, A. Smith.
South Africa: Kirchner; Habana, de Villiers, F Steyn, Hougaard; M Steyn, Pienaar; Mtawarira, Strauss, J. du Plessis, van der Merwe, J. Kruger, Louw, Alberts, Vermeulen. Subs used: Liebenberg, Greyling, Bekker, Coetzee, Goosen, Lambie.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North