Five-minute blitz gets All Blacks home over Springboks | Sunday Observer

Five-minute blitz gets All Blacks home over Springboks

New Zealand’s full back Ben Smith (C) attempts to evade a tackle by South Africa’s prop Frans Malherbe (L) during their Rugby World Cup Pool B match against South Africa in Yokohama yesterday (AFP)
New Zealand’s full back Ben Smith (C) attempts to evade a tackle by South Africa’s prop Frans Malherbe (L) during their Rugby World Cup Pool B match against South Africa in Yokohama yesterday (AFP)

YOKOHAMA AFP: Defending champions New Zealand burnished their credentials as favourites for the Rugby World Cup with a hard-fought 23-13 win against top contenders South Africa in a blockbuster match in Yokohama on Saturday.

The impressive All Blacks cut the Springboks to ribbons during a five-minute period of dominance in the first half that earned them two converted tries, and then saw off a determined second-half fightback to register the vital Pool B win.

Before nearly 64,000 fans in Yokohama’s International Stadium, the All Blacks set the game alight with the sensational scoring spree which was against the early run of play.

Until then the Springboks had enjoyed a huge territorial advantage but were unable to cross the line and had to rely on an early Handre Pollard penalty for their only points in the first half.

In a frantically paced second half they came within one try of regaining the lead before late penalties made the game safe for New Zealand.

For the fourth time in as many matches at this World Cup, the team that scored first finished second.

Perhaps it was nerves, but play was marred by many handling errors from both sides early in the contest.

South Africa’s reputed staunch defence was exposed by 26 missed tackles in the first half as the All Blacks’ pace proved too much.

After Springboks backrower Duane Vermeulen was given the honour in his 50th Test to lead the teams on to the field, Pollard quickly had the South Africans on the board with a handy penalty. 

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