Last gasp try seals Tri Nations crown for All Blacks

By Sam Rogers
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A late Israel Dagg try handed New Zealand a dramatic 29-22 victory over South Africa as they sealed their tenth Tri Nations title, and their first since 2008.

A first half try from prop Tony Woodcock and 14 points from fly half Daniel Carter sealed the victory for the All Blacks. Carter’s performance saw him eclipse Andrew Mehrtens as leading points scorer for New Zealand against the Springboks.

Influential captain John Smit made his 100th appearance for his country in front of a partisan Soweto crowd of nearly 95,000.

Both Carter and Steyn took advantage of the thin Highveld atmosphere early on, exchanging two penalties each with Carter also seeing an effort hit the post.

Steyn was then back in the thick of it, taking a quick penalty to leave the Springboks five metres away, allowing Burger to run over for the try to give the hosts a first half lead.

The lead was extended further after Joe Rokocoko was deemed to have blocked scrum half Francois Hougaard following a chip and chase, with Steyn happy to add three points.

Just as they seemed to be being played out of the game, the All Blacks yet again found the initiative when they needed it. This time it was Woodcock, who found himself on the wing with a man advantage and was able to cross for the try. A missed Carter conversion left the deficit at just two points as the half drew to a close.

The Springboks started the better in the second half and Steyn increased their lead to eight with two further penalties. It appeared the All Blacks were the side with discipline issues this time around.

Carter cut the lead to five and had a perfect opportunity to reduce it to just two, but he uncharacteristically missed from right in front of the posts.

The Springboks looked likely to hold on for their first win of the campaign, but a try in the corner from captain Richie McCaw—which was referred to the television match official—left the scores tied. Referee Nigel Owens had asked for evidence against awarding the try, but none was found by the TMO.

Carter missed his third kick of the night, though it was undoubtedly his hardest of the evening. Replacement wing Israel Dagg then made the miss irrelevant and ran clear of the Springbok defence to seal the win for the All Blacks.

South Africa face the Wallabies next week, with lock Victor Matfield set to win his 100th Cap.

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