All Blacks continue dominance over South Africa

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Lynn McConnell     17 Sep 2016     Getty Images

Scoring six tries to one New Zealand punished South Africa initially for mistakes made under pressure but then unleashed the uncommon skills that have marked their rugby in 2016.


Hooker Dane Coles was outstanding in his field play, the lineout was more assured and his role in setting up tries made him a leader in assists for the game.

Halfback Aaron Smith was back to his rapier-like best while the control and choice of ploys from first five-eighths Beauden Barrett maintained the impact he has made since gaining the starting spot.

Flanker Ardie Savea, making his starting debut, was a big contributor to the effort and his try was a demonstration of his best ball-running capabilities.

South Africa were competitive if still unable to maximise their chances in the first half and they scored the first try of the game.

Wing Bryan Habana capped off good South African build-up from a short lineout. Strong bursts by locks Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth and fullback Johan Goosen set up a chance as first five-eighths Elton Jantjies and No.8 Warren Whiteley combined to feed Habana running a superb line to cross for the opening try, 18 minutes into the game, untouched.
But having been involved in good defensive work in the earlier stages, Jantjies dropped the restart five metres out from the goal-line and from the scrum it was a matter of Barrett charging just over the line and from the ruck halfback Aaron Smith moved the ball blind with a pass that missed two, found hooker Dane Coles who fed wing Israel Dagg over unchallenged for the try.

Another South African mistake, made when attempting to run the ball from their own 22m saw Goosen make a forward pass. From the scrum, fullback Ben Smith took Barrett's pass to run back on the angle. The ruck was won with the ball worked blind with Coles quickly handing on to wing Julian Savea who went in for his 43rd try and first against South Africa.

Jantjies' kick straight to touch to start the second half was the forerunner of inaccurate kicking during the third quarter and it was from such kicking that the All Blacks utilised courtesy of some good running along the sideline by Coles and then in a trademark midfield surge by flanker Ardie Savea. With a ruck set up the ball was swung back with Savea handling again before Aaron Smith popped a weighted short pass for Ben Smith to waft through a gap to score.

All Blacks substitutes quickly made their influence felt, especially prop Wyatt Crockett whose midfield turnover created a chance for more inter-passing mayhem and after Aaron Smith was allowed to run into the South African 22m area he found Ardie Savea in support and his momentum carried him over the line for the bonus point try – the first time in New Zealand Test history that brothers had scored in the same match.

When Whitelock moved to the blindside of the scrum he was able to benefit on the track usually run by Jerome Kaino, but only on the end of some exquisite All Blacks passing, none better than Coles who threw a near 20m pinpoint pass into Whitelock's hands to run in for the try.

Replacement halfback TJ Perenara missed a try when after some clever work between Dagg and replacement flanker Matt Todd, the ball rebounded into the in-goal area off a Springbok player, but as he touched the ball down it kissed the sideline.

However, in the resulting play the All Blacks lost the ball, and then won a penalty at a scrum and from their choice of scrum, Perenara was allowed to run at the line unimpeded.

Scorers: New Zealand 41 (Israel Dagg, Julian Savea, Ben Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Whitelock, TJ Perenara tries; Beauden Barrett 4 con, pen) South Africa 13 (Bryan Habana tries; Elton Jantjies con, 2 pen). HT: 15-10