All Blacks edge South Africa in arm wrestle
Sat, 15 Sep 2012 9:10p.m.
Halfback Aaron Smith scored an outstanding individual try midway through the second half to help the All Blacks to a 21-11 win over the Springboks in a Rugby Championship test in Dunedin.
Smith, who had been relegated to the reserves for breaking team protocol last week, came on as a replacement at halftime for Piri Weepu and broke an 8-8 deadlock as he dummied and sidestepped through the defence.
The South Africans had their chances to win a tight, tough Test but kicked only two of nine attempts at goal, with first five-eighth Morne Steyn enduring a rare off-night with the boot.
There was a capacity crowd of 29,600 for the ninth test between the arch-rivals in Dunedin - the first at the indoor Forsyth Barr Stadium - with the All Blacks having won seven of the previous eight.
The All Blacks had won 13 consecutive tests since losing to Australia last year and were heavily favoured to notch their fourth win from four Tests in the Rugby Championship.
The highlight of the first half was a try to fullback Israel Dagg in the 19th minute after hooker Andrew Hore made good ground and No.8 Kieran Read laid on a lovely pass.
South Africa's goal-kicking in the first half was atrocious, landing just one from six attempts. Steyn kicked just one from four and inside centre Frans Steyn missed with two long-range shots.
New Zealand led 5-3 at halftime but they were lucky to be ahead as the visitors enjoyed an edge in territory and possession and forced a lot of turnover ball through their brutal approach.
The Springboks had put the All Blacks off their game with their physical, combative approach and the New Zealanders had been unable to settle into any rhythm.
However, they overstepped the mark in the 63rd minute when reserve prop Dean Greyling connected with a diving elbow to the head of All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, resulting in a yellow card from Irish referee George Clancy.
Winger Bryan Habana scored a stunning individual try eight minutes into the second spell to give South Africa an 8-5 lead. He burst through from 40m out and regathered his own chip to score in the right corner.
All Blacks No.10 Aaron Cruden tied the scores with a penalty and New Zealand took the lead 15-8 midway through the spell when Smith burst from the base of a ruck 25m and sidestepped Springboks fullback Zane Kirchner to score his memorable try.
Johan Goosen subbed Morne Steyn and kicked a 40m penalty 11 minutes from the end to trim the All Blacks' lead to four points but Cruden landed two late penalties to deny the visitors a bonus point.
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16/09/2012 12:02:35 p.m.
I know the All Blacks won but I think they still need to improve a heck of a lot. Last night a team devoid of a game-plan, kicking the ball aimlessly towards us almost won the match.
16/09/2012 9:15:03 a.m.
Messy non-eventful game aside... I have a question... What was the name of the woman who sang the New Zealand National Anthem? What a stirring rendition.
16/09/2012 8:38:44 a.m.
I have to agree with Patrick, it should have been a red card. The Blue bulls players always bring foul play into the Springbok game. I am hoping for another win by the AB's in SA to deny them any bonus points again. The Springbok play was sooo predictable, its become boring to watch.
16/09/2012 7:53:57 a.m.
Got to disagree with 'Huh's' comment - that was a thriller for me... there doesn't need to be tries galore, a tight well-contested match will do it for me every time.
15/09/2012 9:57:50 p.m.
"Thriller"? Habana and Smith's tries aside, this match was wretched viewing.
15/09/2012 9:34:50 p.m.
Should of been a red card.
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