SANZAR 07.Oct.2013Getty Images
The All Blacks prevailed 38-27 over the Springboks in a pulsating affair that will live long in the memories of rugby fans. In defending the title, New Zealand extends its unbeaten record through two years of The Rugby Championship.
Liam Messam and Bryan Habana each bagged first half doubles while Ben Smith etched his name into competition history by scoring his eighth try in six matches of the campaign, the most in a single season of The Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations, moving him one ahead of Habana (2012, 6 matches) and Christian Cullen (2000, 4 matches).
The Springboks appeared to seize the momentum when Willie le Roux and Jean de Villiers scored in quick succession to open the second half, but Beauden Barrett’s try on the hour mark secured a bonus point for New Zealand and guaranteed their retention of The Rugby Championship.
After their victory over the Springboks at Ellis Park, SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters extended his congratulations to the All Blacks team and management on successfully defending their title.
“The Rugby Championship pits the best against the best in the world’s toughest international rugby tournament. To remain undefeated in the first two years is a remarkable achievement by the All Blacks.
“While second place will be of little consolation to a determined Springbok outfit, South Africa can feel immensely proud of their performance throughout The Rugby Championship having come so close to toppling the defending champions.
“Best of luck to New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina as they prepare for their respective Spring Tours.”
Saturday’s second match saw Australia run riot in Rosario with a sensational Israel Folau hat-trick spearheading a seven try blitz in a 54-17 win.
The 54 points scored by the Wallabies represents their highest total in The Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations history and sees them avoid the wooden spoon.