New Zealand seal back-to-back victories over Springboks
New Zealand produced a fantastic defensive display to beat South Africa 31-17 in Wellington to make it two wins from two in this year’s Tri Nations.
Tries from Ma’a Nonu, Mils Muliaina, Rene Ranger and a superb solo effort from Israel Dagg, secured a second bonus point victory in as many outings for the All Blacks.
The Springboks were under pressure early on as the ill discipline of last week reared its head. Lock Danie Rossouw, in for the suspended Bakkies Botha, was sin binned for an innocuous run in with Richie McCaw.
The man advantage once again paid off almost immediately with some expansive running from Number eight Kieren Read Nonu allowing the latter to go over with a pick up and push after good rucking from Muliaina.
Daniel Carter missed the conversion as the All Blacks really started to take control and in the 12th minute, Piri Weepu left GurthrÃƒÂ¶ Steenkamp for dust and looped a perfect pass out wide to Muliaina, who made no mistake to seal his 26th career try.
Carter finally landed a kick with his fourth attempt mid way through the first half to open a 13-point lead for his side.
The Springbok line-out finally fired as the quick ball off the top put in Jean De Villiers who allowed Roussouw to make amends for his earlier indiscretions to put his side back in the hunt at the break.
The Springboks started the second half brightly. Morne Steyn slotted home a penalty to reduce the deficit to just three but a superb first test try for Rene Ranger followed almost immediately.
Good work from Carter and Conrad Smith left Ranger through to touch down in the corner. Referee Alain Rolland went to the TMO, who confirmed a legitimate touchdown.
After having missed five kicks on the night, Carter gave the kicking duties to Weepu who, in front of his home crowd, duly slotted home to open up an 11-point lead.
The All Blacks managed to weather the storm having been pinned in their own half for a prolonged period.
But completely against the run of play, replacement Israel Dagg produced an impressive solo effort to break the Springboks’ fight and ultimately put the game to bed.
Dagg ran a perfect diagonal line, cutting past Pierre Spies and breaking a Schalk Burger tackle before leaving Kichner behind to hand his side the bonus point.
The All Blacks now have a break after the perfect opening to their campaign while the Springboks’ tough start will continue when they travel to Brisbane as Australia make their first showing of this year’s tournament.