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Half-time acid stings AllBlacks

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Sportal.co.nz     07 Oct 2012     Getty Images

The win was the 16th in succession for the side, one short of the record among the Test-playing heavyweights of the game which is shared by New Zealand and South Africa. It also completed a clean sweep of the inaugural Investec Rugby Championship and was captain Richie McCaw's 100th Test victory, the first player in rugby history to achieve the feat.

McCaw said New Zealand were their own worst enemy in the first half. Denied possession and hit by seven penalties from referee Alain Rolland to none for themselves, they had been too eager when getting the ball and made mistakes consequently.

However the half-time talk had worked as they came out and scored within 19 seconds of the restart.

"When the set pieces work well it is nice that all the hard work during the week gets a reward," McCaw told SKYSport.

When second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu touched down for the first try from the second half restart McCaw said the Springboks had dropped their heads.

"You have to take your opportunities in these big Tests. We were happy to win the Championship in Argentina last week but we knew the big challenge was to come [in South Africa]. It is hugely satisfying to get a win here," he said.

Coach Steve Hansen, who is undefeated after nine Tests this year, said the second half effort after being down 12-16 was a demonstration of the character of the players wearing the black jersey.

Hansen said the side needed to reload both on attack and defence in the second half and they knew that if they could execute their game plan the South Africans would tire.

"In the second half we knuckled down and secured our set piece," he said.

The side was striving all the time to be a better team and he had been pleased with the way younger players introduced into the side had stepped up during the campaign.

South African captain Jean de Villiers said two tries in five minutes for the All Blacks in the first half, and then a third just after half-time had forced the home team into playing catch-up rugby, something that was very difficult against a good All Blacks team.

"We know they have a good defensive system but we just kept chipping away at them. It was a very similar game to [the first clash] in Dunedin. We had our opportunities but we were not able to capitalise," he said.

South Africa needed to keep things in perspective, he said, and while there was pressure on to win, some young players had been introduced to Test rugby this year and they had played well.

"We are improving but we came up against a quality side in New Zealand," he said.