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All Blacks take Tri-Nations Title

All Blacks take Tri-Nations Title

The All Blacks wrapped up the Tri-Nations title but with nothing like the ease expected, beating the Springboks 19-11 in an evenly-fought rugby test at Carisbrook.

The All Blacks wrapped up the Tri-Nations title but with nothing like the
ease expected, beating the Springboks 19-11 in an evenly-fought rugby test at

A perfect five-from-five goalkicking display from first five-eighth Carlos
Spencer reaped 14 points and carried New Zealand to victory against a South
African side showing far more starch than in the 16-52 capitulation at Pretoria
three weeks ago.

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Both sides managed one try apiece, a veritable drought for the All Blacks,
who scored seven in their last two tests, including the 50-21 win over Australia
in Sydney.

The All Blacks become only the second team to beat the Springboks in six consecutive
tests. The first was Great Britain — the forerunner to the British Lions —
107 years ago.

However, the Springboks will be heartened by their last test before the World
Cup, showing vigour in the forward exchanges and more accuracy on defence.

Goalkicking was expected to be one area where the visitors had the edge but
while Spencer was on song, opposite Louis Koen could only manage two from five
kicks at goal, along with three botched drop-goal attempts.

On a cold, still night, the ball gathered dew leaving the All Blacks backs
playing with less confidence than in recent weeks and often forced to kick,
with mixed success.

One of the All Blacks’ best was lock Ali Williams, who responded to coach John
Mitchell’s calls for accountability with a lively game around the field and
some quality lineout possession.

The All Blacks became frustrated at their inability to win clean ball from
rucks and struggled to find the fluency in their counter-attacking that marked
their previous two games against the Springboks and the Wallabies.

Some strength-sapping mauling from the South Africans proved effective and
some direct running reaped rewards at times against a New Zealand defensive
line lacking its usual sting, No 8 Jerry Collins apart.

New Zealand had a decisive edge at scrum time while lineouts were evenly shared,
with the All Blacks getting more throws but squandering some of them.

The Springboks had a clear edge in first-half territory and possession and
were unlucky to go to the break 11-13 down.

The All Blacks opened the scoring on five minutes through winger Joe Rokocoko,
taking his tryscoring record to 11 in just six tests. His pace beat South African
fullback Thinus Delport to the ball after fine grubber kick from second five-eighth
Aaron Mauger.

The Springboks struck back in the 15min through a brutal individual try to
prop Richard Bands.

The powerful tighthead ran 40m, brushing aside opposite number Kees Meeuws,
pushing off Spencer and beating the cover defence to the left corner.

The rest of the first-half scoring came through penalty kicks, with Spencer
and Koen kicking two apiece. Koen had a chance to put his side ahead on the
stroke of halftime but missed what would have been a morale-boosting penalty.

Two more Spencer penalties kicked the All Blacks out to a 19-11 lead after
60 minutes but that score never changed, even though the visitors were camped
on attack for most of the game’s remainder.

The All Blacks must now prepare to win their second trophy in Auckland next
Saturday by beating Australia to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup. It will be the final
test for both teams before the World Cup.