South Africa made an excellent start to their Rugby Championship campaign when they claimed a 26-10 victory over New Zealand in Mbombela on Saturday.
In a fun, fast-paced affair, the Springboks were the full value of the win as they were the dominant side for long stretches and eventually edged out the All Blacks by two tries to one.
Kurt-Lee Arendse and Willie le Roux crossed for the home side’s attempts, while Handre Pollard finished with 16 points, courtesy of two conversions, three penalties and a goal.
For the visitors, Shannon Frizell scored a five-pointer that was converted by Richie Mo’unga and Jordie Barrett got a penalty.
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The All Blacks rarely asked questions of the world champions, but when they did, they were greeted by a superb defensive display from the men in green and gold.
New Zealand came into this match as the underdogs but, truth be told, they looked uninformed up front and this defeat will put more pressure on manager Ian Foster, whose team has already lost five of the last six Tests.
Despite the visitors’ inadequacies, the Boks forwards deserve much credit for this victory as they bullied their teammates from the start and it was a special occasion for their prostitute, Malcolm Marx, who was named the man of the match in their 50th Test. However, a stain on the Boks’ notebook came in the 75th minute, when Arendse received a red card for eliminating Beauden Barrett in a mid-air collision.
The match got off to a rocky start when 43 seconds after kickoff the Boks took a big hit when Faf de Klerk was knocked out after coming out in second place when trying to face Caleb Clarke.
He was immediately replaced by Jaden Hendrikse, but despite losing his talismanic scrum-half, the home side still got the better of the first exchanges. And at nine minutes they opened the scoring when Arendse crossed for the opening try. This, after Beauden Barrett failed to catch a high ball from Pollard within his 22. Lukhanyo Am lashed out and managed to unload to Arendse, who had a clear run-in for her first test attempt.
Pollard added extras and, midway through, scored a penalty after All Blacks captain Sam Cane crashed into a ruck.
It was all of South Africa for the rest of the half as they continued to have most of the ball possession and territory with the All Blacks struggling to gain momentum once they managed to get their hands on the ball. On the rare occasions when they did, the visitors’ attacks came to nothing due to several unforced errors.
In the 26th minute, Akira Ioane made a forward pass near the midfield line – after Beauden Barrett had done well with a counterattack from inside his midfield – and five minutes later David Havili hit when he had an overlap on the outside inside the goal. Half of the Boks.
Although the hosts continued to have firm control of the game, the All Blacks earned a postponement against the run of play in the 36th minute when Jordie Barrett opened his team’s score by penalty. This, after Damian de Allende was blown up for dodging an offside when receiving the ball on contact from an offensive scrum.
That meant the Boks were 10-3 in their favor at half-time, but they still had a lot of work to do if they were to seal their first home win over New Zealand since 2014.
The first exchanges of the second half were cautious, but the hosts extended their lead in the 51st minute when Pollard took the second penalty after a scrum infringement by Tyrel Lomax.
Marx continues to shine
The All Blacks showed more intensity after the break and tested the home team’s defense with some strong plays, but continued to make mistakes and were bullied in meltdowns – where Marx was featured.
In the 58th minute, Pollard put more light of day between his team and his opponents when he scored a goal from 35 meters away. The next 15 minutes were frantic, but another Pollard penalty in the 71st minute – after Beauden Barrett was blasted into a ruck – marked his team’s dominance.
Shortly afterward, Arendse was sent off following her horror challenge on Barrett and in the 79th minute Frizell crossed for a consolation attempt after Clarke fared well with a barnstorming run in preparation.
Despite that score, the Boks finished stronger and sealed the victory in injury time when a pass from Cane to Frizell failed and Le Roux joined in before crossing for a try that sealed his team’s convincing victory.
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The article Rugby Championship: Clinical Springboks Draw First Blood Against All Blacks appeared first on Planetrugby.com.