All Blacks

All Blacks beat dud Boks and win title

All Blacks beat dud Boks and win title

All Blacks 41++Springboks 13

The All Blacks overwhelmed the Springboks in Christchurch with a six-try bonus point victory that secured The Rugby Championship for 2016 with two rounds to spare.

First half

The All Blacks spent the opening ten minutes in the Springbok half and mounted some promising raids, each of which ended in disappointment. Referee Angus Gardner was making a point dishing out early penalties and Beauden Barrett got the scoring underway by squeezing a ball inside the post from a relatively easy position.

On just their second visit to the All Blacks 22 a series of one-off runs created a hole that allowed Bryan Habana to stroll past two defenders and score untouched. Elton Jantjies converted for a 7-3 lead after 20 minutes.

The All Black response was immediate. Jantjies knocked on from the restart and from the first ruck after the scrum Aaron Smith sent the ball right to hooker Dane Coles who waved it on to an unmarked Israel Dagg who scored—it was too darn easy. Barrett missed the conversion and NZ led 8-7.

Bryan Habana – already a legend – scored  try untouched

A bizarre, disorganised Springbok attempt to exit the 22 by running it out when outnumbered blew up in their faces when a forward pass set up a scrum 20 metres out. The All Blacks ran right and passed it left after the first ruck, but the Boks couldn’t handle the simple switch. Coles attracted three tacklers and delivered the ball to Julian Savea who powered through Habana’s almost try-saver. Barrett converted from touch. NZ 15-7.

Ardie Savea defused a threatening South African attack with a classic turnover and defence quickly turned to attack.  But Sam Whitelock was adjudged guilty of a neck roll by TMO George Ayoub, and it was the Springboks’ turn to sweep downfield. Kieran Read conceded a penalty just inside the 22 that Jantjies duly nailed.

New Zealand were sharp when they got their chances but South Africa were their own worst enemies, although they scrambled well on occasion.

Half time score: New Zealand 15 – South Africa 10.

 Dane Coles – Jack-of-all-trades against Springboks

Second half

A wayward Jantjies clearance allowed first Dane Coles then Ardie Savea to make deep inroads down the right flank and through the middle of the resulting ruck, a superb Aaron Smith pass put Ben Smith in for the all-important first score of the half. 22-10 became 22-13 at 53 minutes when a Dagg knock-on was fielded by an offside Ryan Crotty, and Jantjies landed the penalty.

Ardie Savea scored the bonus point try off the back of an Aaron Smith snipe that appeared to have been assisted by his running behind Matt Todd, but referee Angus Gardner chose not to refer it to the TMO. Replays suggested the grounding was questionable as well. Barrett converted for a 29-13 scoreline leaving South Africa just 22 minutes to bridge the gap.

 Ardie Savea – scored bonus point try

The gap became a chasm when Whitelock, now playing at 6, scored on the left wing after moving there from the middle of the field. Coles played the centre role and delivered a 20-metre pass that Conrad Smith would have been proud of, for the final transfer. Barrett missed the conversion from out wide: NZ 34-13.

The chasm became unbridgeable when the Springboks conceded a 70th minute scrum on their 22 and were penalised. Read called for another scrum from which TJ Perenara ambled past Morne Steyn, who had drifted too wide, and dotted down. Barrett converted.

Final score: All Blacks 41 – Springboks 13.

 Angry Aaron Smith was Man of the Match

Man of the match

Aaron Smith was clearly angry with himself for a rare sub-par game last week and it showed as he turned in one of his best performances ever. Set up three tries and kept the defence guessing whether he’d run, pass or kick. Put in several trademark box kicks that allowed his chasers plenty of time to get into position to contest or regather.

Dane Coles ran Smith a close second with Ardie Savea impressing in his first start and justifying the “next great All Black 7” tag he’s worn for some time now.

Unfortunate game-changer Elton Jantjies

The Game Changer

The Springboks having scored to take the lead 7-3, Elton Jantjies knocked on from the restart and the All Blacks scored from the resulting scrum. From that moment on they barely fired a shot and the Boks’ attack suffered as they played from deeper and deeper, and became increasingly lateral and error-prone.

Almost unbelievably, it took the introduction of Morne Steyn for them to get back on the front foot.

The Details

Score and Scorers

New Zealand – 41

Tries: I. Dagg (21′) J. Savea (27′), B. Smith (48′), A. Savea (55′), S. Whitelock (64′), TJ Perenara (70′).

Conversions: B. Barrett (28′,49′, 57′, 71′)

Penalty: B. Barrett (8′)

South Africa – 13

Try: B. Habana (18′)

Conversion: E. Jantjies (19′)

Penalties: E. Jantjies (36′, 52′)

Cards: None

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