All Blacks too strong for Springboks

Ma'a Nonu scored one of New Zealand's four tries

Ma'a Nonu scored one of New Zealand's four tries

First published in National Sport News © by

New Zealand finished the Rugby Championship with six wins out of six as they put South Africa to the sword in Johannesburg, winning 32-16.

The All Blacks, who had already sealed the title ahead of their opponents, Australia and Argentina, turned a 16-12 half-time deficit into a convincing victory.

The visitors ran in four tries, Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith all crossing, with Dan Carter kicking 11 points, while Bryan Habana got the Springboks' only try.

Rookie fly-half Johan Goosen did not get off to the best of starts for the hosts, missing two early penalties, but the Springboks got the opening try of the match in the 12th minute as Habana took a pass from Jean de Villiers to run in unchallenged. Goosen this time made no mistake with his kick as the hosts led 7-0.

Goosen appeared to be finding his range and knocked over a penalty before the All Blacks got on the board in the 25th minute, moving the ball out to the left for Whitelock to race over the line.

Carter missed the conversion, but the visitors soon had their second try, Habana missing an interception attempt and Hosea Gear streaking clear before offloading to Aaron Smith, who scored under the posts. Carter's conversion put the All Blacks 12-10 in front.

Elton Jantjies, on for Goosen, knocked over a penalty to put the hosts back in front by one and did it again on the stroke of half-time to make it 16-12 at the break.

The second half was all New Zealand, though, and they started it as they meant to go on, with Nonu touching down after the All Blacks attacked straight after the restart. Carter added the extras.

Jantjies missed two quickfire penalties as the Boks' kicking problems mounted, and their opponents took advantage with a fourth try in the 52nd minute. Conrad Smith ghosted through a gap to touch down, with Carter's conversion making it 26-16 to the All Blacks before a drop-goal extended his side's lead further.

The hosts were thrown a lifeline when Israel Dagg was sin-binned for slowing down the ball, but the one-way traffic toward the South Africa line continued. A Carter penalty with nine minutes to go took his tally to 11 and the New Zealand lead to 16, and Aaron Cruden even had time to miss a late three-pointer as the visitors closed out a convincing win.

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