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All Blacks shut Springboks out of game
Ace All Blacks first five-eighths Dan Carter might not have taken his kicking boots to Newlands but he produced a typical piece of class to score the match-winning try over South Africa in the 19-0 win Philips Tri Nations win.
The win was the first time South Africa had failed to score a point in Tests at home against the All Blacks.
The All Blacks had been attacking hard with a series of continuity plays which stretched the South African defences before Carter, who had a horror day with his goal-kicking despite registering his 800th point in Tests, spied his chance after 64 minutes and broke for the line.
He was held just short but twisted his body and stretched out while on his back to ground the ball under the posts. His conversion, apart from being the first successful goal kick for either side, gave New Zealand a 12-0 lead.
South Africa was soundly out-played and never showed the purpose the All Blacks brought to the match. The Springboks attempted to run the ball but unfamiliarity led to mistakes under pressure.
Then replacement hooker Keven Mealamu couldn't believe his luck when the Springboks tried to run the ball from their own goal-line five minutes from the end. A pass flung by second five-eighths Jean de Villiers fell into the hands of Mealamu who scored the easiest of tries.
Earlier, it was a piece of Richie McCaw magic, a kick into the Springbok ingoal area off his left foot, set up the try for centre Conrad Smith. It typified another superb game from McCaw who dominated the loose and saw off rival Schalk Burger early in the second half.
South Africa had made a nervous start with first five-eighths Butch James landing the kick-off in touch, and then a tap penalty was kicked dead by halfback Fourie du Preez.
But once the All Blacks kicked into the South Africa 22m area, a big risk was taken with a quick throw in which caused mistakes in-goal and it was from the subsequent play that Smith scored.
South Africa was let off for constant infringing on the ground with referee Matt Goddard several times telling captain Victor Matfield that he was giving a last warning.
However, three penalty goal attempts by Carter missed the mark to go with the conversion of Smith's try that he had missed earlier.
South Africa went close to scoring when wing Bryan Habana was ruled to have stood on the touchline 15m out from the goalline. Goddard insisted on having the TMO check the situation.
The first half was bruising with some hard hits from both sides but the pace of the game, and it was frenetic, seemed to take a greater toll on the South African forwards. The only injury loss was to the All Blacks with wing Sitiveni Sivivatu forced to leave the field with a leg injury. His place was taken by Isaia Toeava.
Springboks first five-eighths Butch James put a well-weighted kick to the All Blacks line and while fullback Mils Muliaina had it covered he was driven back over the line. However, the Springboks, despite several drives at the line were unable to beat the All Blacks defence and the ball was cleared.
Replacement prop John Afoa went close to scoring in the corner after some quick passing but the TMO ruled the try out after 55 minutes.
The All Blacks scrum was not as dominant as in recent games and the lineouts proved a mixed bag, but by the same token the South African lineout was not the force of earlier games.
Pressure started to tell on South Africa as kicks drifted out on the full.
Carter might not have had his goal-kicking boots on but his tactical placement was sound, especially as he played the corners in the latter stages of the game.
Springbok No.8 Pierre Spies was a constant thorn in the All Blacks side putting his athleticism to good effect with some strong runs with the ball in hand, however, he lacked consistent support against a solid All Blacks defence. Du Preez was lively while on the field and prop Tendai Mtawarira made some early thundering runs but again the Springboks were unable to build on them.
It was a classic display of control and represented another step in the development of this side.
New Zealand 19 (Conrad Smith, Dan Carter, Keven Mealamu tries; Carter 2 con)
South Africa 0
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