All Blacks win Rugby Championship
The All Blacks beat the Springboks 38-27 to win the Rugby Championship.
JOHANNESBURG - The All Blacks beat the Springboks 38-27 to win the Rugby Championship.
It was a great game of rugby and certainly lived up to the status of the biggest game of the year.
The game was up for grabs for the Boks with 20 minutes to play, the game ended in a disappointing way for South Africa.
The first points in the game came from the boot of Morne Steyn in the 10th minute when he converted a penalty after a sustained period of pressure by the Boks.
A minute later Ben Smith scored the All Blacks' first points after beating a number of Bok defenders on the right hand touch line. The conversion was well dealt with by Aaron Cruden to give them a 7-3 lead.
Bryan Habana replied in the 18th minute with his 56th test try which equaled Christian Cullen's record of 16 tries in the Rugby Championship/Tri Nations competition. The try was right under the posts and Steyn slotted the conversion.
Just two minutes later Habana went over for his second try after Francois Louw hit a half gap and got the ball away to Habana who chipped over the final defender and had the ball bounce back into his hands. The score remained 15-7 as Steyn missed the conversion.
The whole of South Africa held their breath soon after when Habana grabbed his hamstring shortly and the two-try hero had to leave the field. Jan Serfontein replaced him on the left wing.
In the 26th minute Liam Messam went over for the All Blacks' second try, but Nigel Owens first referred the decision to the TMO. A quick look upstairs confirmed that the try was scored and Cruden added the extra two to make it a 1-point game.
Jean de Villiers signaled their intent with nine minutes to play in the half when they were awarded a kickable penalty, but decided to go for the line out. The lineout was secured by the Boks which brought on another penalty which Steyn again kicked out for a lineout, but this time the All Black defense did enough to force the turnover.
Just before the half-time break the Boks were placed under pressure and had to face two minutes in their own 22m area. In that period Willem Alberts was taken off the field on a stretcher which brought Siya Kolisi onto the park. The Boks' defense held and the score remained 15-14 as the teams went into halftime.
In the second half the first action came in the 46th minute when Liam Messam was sin binned for a deliberate infringement in the All Blacks' 22m. The penalty was tapped quickly and Willie le Roux went over for the Boks' third. Steyn converted the try to give the Boks' a 1-point lead with 32 minutes to play.
The All Blacks almost secured the Rugby Championship when Ma'a Nonu was topped inches short of the line by a superb Siya Kolisi tackle. The All Blacks had a penalty advantage and replacement Beauden Barret kicked New Zealand back in the lead.
Captain courageous Jean de Villers scored his 24th test try in the 58th minute to secure the 4-try bonus point for the Boks. De Villiers ran right over the Barret, but Meyer could not convert the try and the Boks lead 27-24 with 20 minutes to play.
Barret broke South African hearts a minute later though as he went over for the All Blacks' fourth try securing the Rugby Championship for the All Blacks.
A bizarre moment broke out in the 62nd minute when it was realized that nr 16 for the All Blacks was never on the team sheet. The All Black management blamed a typing error and the game continued with Owens saying they will deal with it after the game.
Ben Franks was sent off for 10 minutes a short while later for a swinging arm, but even with 14 men the All Blacks scored when Kieran Read went over in the 65th minute.
Willie le Roux came close to scoring an intercept try, but was stopped just short by Barret.
And that was how the game ended.