AUSTRALIA 22 - 23 NEW ZEALAND
ANZ STADIUM, SYDNEY – Saturday 11th September 2010
New Zealand surged home to steal a 23-22 win over Australia and finish the Tri-Nations series unbeaten at the Sydney Olympic stadium on Saturday.
The All Blacks trailed 22-9 but converted tries by skipper Richie McCaw and number eight Kieran Read secured their 10th consecutive victory over the Wallabies and their 15th straight win against allcomers.
The Wallabies, coming off their last-gasp 41-39 win over the Springboks in Bloemfontein last weekend, looked poised for their first win over the All Blacks since 2008, but they could not withstand the Kiwis' intensity in the decisive final minutes.
Australia led 14-6 at halftime and were 13 points in front after winning most of the battles against the world's number one team, but the physical effort of three consecutive weeks of test matches took its toll.
The All Blacks' triumph was a great tonic for their country after last weekend's Christchurch quake, New Zealand's biggest in decades, left an estimated 100 000 buildings damaged, even though nobody was killed.
New Zealand had already clinched the trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup for an eighth straight year after winning 49-28 in Melbourne and 20-10 in Christchurch earlier in the season.
Scrum-half Piri Weepu's goalkicking was the difference as he landed three penalties and two conversions, while Wallaby Matt Giteau could only score with three of his seven kicks before he was replaced by Kurtley Beale.
Australia had more possession and territory and led through the only try of the opening half to winger James O'Connor.
Both sides came close to scoring in a frenetic opening.
All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu was tackled into the corner post by Beale and the video referee turned down a try for Wallaby winger Lachie Turner minutes later.
But the All Blacks' defence was breached in the 16th minute when number eight Ben McCalman picked up the ball from the back of the scrum and made a break.
McCalman drew the last line of defence to send O'Connor racing over in the right-hand corner.
The Wallabies would have led by a greater margin at halftime had Giteau been more accurate with his goalkicking.
Adam Ashley-Cooper scored Australia's second try seven minutes after halftime off a long pass from scrumhalf Will Genia to push the home side's advantage out to 19-6.
Weepu kept the All Blacks within range at 19-9 with his third penalty. Beale took over the goalkicking duties from off-form Giteau and landed a penalty to give the Wallabies a 13-point lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
The All Blacks were rewarded for their pressure on the Wallabies' line when Read and McCaw combined off a scrum win for the All Blacks' skipper McCaw to score after O'Connor was caught out coming off his wing.
Weepu converted for New Zealand to trail 22-16 with 11 minutes left. The All Blacks ramped up the pressure and controlled the ball to score their second try next to the uprights by Reid and Weepu's conversion put them in front 23-22 into the final seven minutes.
T: McCaw, Read
P: Weepu 2
C: Weepu 3
T: O’Connor, Ashley-Cooper
P: Giteau 3, Beale
AUSTRALIA: 15 Kurtley Beale 14 James O’Connor 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper 12 Matt Giteau 11 Lachie Turner 10 Quade Cooper 9 Will Genia 8 Benn Robinson 7 David Pocock 6 Rocky Elsom (C) 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Dean Mumm 3 Salesi Ma’afu 2 Saia Faingaa 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 S Moore 17 J Slipper 18 B McCalman 19 S Higginbotham 20 L Burgess 21 B Barnes 22 A Faingaa
NEW ZEALAND: 15 Mils Muliaina 14 Cory Jane 13 Conrad Smith 12 Ma'a Nonu 11 Israel Dagg 10 Aaron Cruden 9 Piri Weepu 1 Tony Woodcock 2 Keven Mealamu 3 Owen Franks 4 Brad Thorn 5 Tom Donnelly 6 Victor Vito 7 Richie McCaw (C) 8 Kieran Read BENCH: 16 Corey Flynn 17 John Afoa 18 Anthony Boric 19 Jerome Kaino 20 Jimmy Cowan 21 Colin Slade 22 Rene Ranger
SOUTH AFRICA 39-41 AUSTRALIA
VODACOM PARK, BLOEMFONTEIN – Saturday 4th September 2010
Springbok captain John Smit was a disappointed man after his side’s fifth Vodacom Tri-Nations defeat of 2010, when they were beaten 39-41 by the Wallabies in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Wallabies won back the Nelson Mandela Challenge Shield when they beat the Springboks in a dramatic Vodacom Tri-Nations match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Like last week, the Wallabies raced to a healthy lead - 31-6 after 25 minutes. And like at Loftus the Boks fought back, but this time the Australians hung in and Kurtley Beale kicked a long-range penalty goal at the death to win the game for the visitors.
South Africa's tries were scored by Jaque Fourie, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Jean de Villiers. Morné Steyn had a superb night with the boot, slotting three conversions and five penalty goals.
For the Wallabies, Beale, James O'Connor, Stephen Moore, Rocky Elsom and Drew Mitchell crossed the try line. Matt Giteau (4) and O'Connor added conversions, while Giteau and Beale kicked one penalty goal each.
Lamenting poor defence and another bad start to the Test, Smit said hard work lies ahead in the next year before the 2011 Rugby World Cup kicks off in New Zealand.
“Our defence was not good, especially early in the game, and they cut us too easily,” said Smit.
“In this game the margins are small. The try right at end of the first half helped and I thought we started the second half well.
“Usually our defensive system works well, but it did not work tonight. We only have ourselves to blame.
“I don’t feel good about our season. We’ve been disappointing in the Tri-Nations when one looks at the players and experience we have. We’re below par and far off the pace. It will be no use giving a bunch of excuses – we’re off our best and have work to do.”
Bok coach Peter de Villiers said: “If you look at how we started this one, I think we showed character to come back. Our structures are in place and they can take us to World Cup if executed properly.”
De Villiers said they should not have allowed the Wallabies to build momentum.
“If we execute our plans perfectly, it will be very difficult to score against us. We needed to show more character on defence, like we did in Soweto and last week at Loftus,” said De Villiers.
“I think the turning point was the line-out where we got penalised. The ball did not travel five metres and we were expecting them to be penalised for that, but instead we got penalised and they scored.
“While we can look for answers, the fact is that we can’t afford to play catch-up two weeks in a row.”
T: Dagg, Muliaina, Nonu, Ranger
P: Carter 2, Weepu
T: Burger, Rossouw
C: Steyn 2
SOUTH AFRICA 15 Frans Steyn 14 JP Pietersen 13 Jaque Fourie 12 Jean de Villiers 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morné Steyn 9 Francois Hougaard 8 Pierre Spies 7 Juan Smith 6 Schalk Burger 5 Victor Matfield 4 Danie Rossouw 3 Jannie du Plessis 2 John Smit (C) 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp BENCH: 16 C Ralepelle 17 CJ van der Linde 18 F van der Merwe 19 R Kankowski 20 R Januarie 21 J de Jongh 22 G Aplon
AUSTRALIA 15 Kurtley Beale 14 James O’Connor 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper 12 Matt Giteau 11 Drew Mitchell 10 Quade Cooper 9 Will Genia 8 Ben McCalman 7 David Pocock 6 Rocky Elsom (C) 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Mark Chisholm 3 Salesi Ma’afu 2 Stephen Moore 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 S Fainga’a 17 J Slipper 18 D Mumm 19 R Brown 20 L Burgess 21 B Barnes 22 A Faingaa
SOUTH AFRICA 44-31 AUSTRALIA
LOFTUS VERSFELD, PRETORIA – Saturday 28th August 2010
Finally! After four successive defeats in this year’s Vodacom Tri-Nations, the Springboks are back to winning ways.
They beat the Wallabies by 44-31 at Loftus Versfeld – a fitting way to celebrate Victor Matfield’s 100th Test for South Africa.
The Boks were on the backfoot soon after the game began and actually trailed the Wallabies by 7-21 after just 10 minutes. They regrouped though and “won” the final 70 minutes by 37-10, finally outscoring Australia by five tries to four.
Juan Smith, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Pierre Spies, Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen scored the Boks’ tries, with Morné Steyn adding four conversions and two penalty goals. Butch James and Frans Steyn also slotted one penalty each.
It was by no means a perfect performance, which John Smit admitted afterwards.
“It was really complicated to start like that, with them scoring two quick tries, but rather early in the game than in the last two minutes. We had time to get back into the game and stuck to our guns,” said Smit.
“The beginning was not part of the plan. It took us some time to find out feet. We still have to eliminate a number of little errors – we will not win the World Cup playing test rugby like this.”
Matfield was happy that he could win his 100th Test, but agreed with Smit that a lot of hard work still lie ahead.
“Luckily they scored those tries early in the game, which left us with 70 minutes to play. The plan was to stick to what you know and your game plan. Luckily we have quite a few experienced guys in the team and things started happening for us,” said Matfield, who also got his hands on a few of the Wallabies’ line-outs.
His steal in the 70th minute, with the Boks on their try-line, was crucial.
“It was nice to steal a ball for a change – they don’t throw close to me these days. But I think we contested very well today. We still have not achieved anything yet, as we really want to win the Mandela Shield. We will enjoy tonight, but we still have a lot of hard work next week,” said Matfield.
Bok coach Peter de Villiers was very happy with the win, but also admitted it was not the perfect performance.
“We were in control, even when we did not have the ball. It was not perfect, but we were in control,” said De Villiers.
“We really worked very hard to reverse this thing and came close last week, but I think we were afraid to make mistakes and were contained to play within ourselves. When Juan Smith scored, however, we realised we should just play. The score was 37-10 in last 70 minutes,” said De Villiers.
“You won’t ever find a perfect game, though. Last week was perhaps better, harder and more intense, but this time we were more composed and came back to turn the tables. This is what we needed to build on.”
T: Pietersen, Smith, Spies, Steenkamp, FPL Steyn
P: James, M Steyn 4
C: FPL Steyn, M Steyn 2
T: Genia, Mumm, O'Connor 2
P: Giteau 4
SOUTH AFRICA: 15 Frans Steyn 14 JP Pietersen 13 Jaque Fourie 12 Jean de Villiers 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morné Steyn 9 Francois Hougaard 8 Pierre Spies 7 Juan Smith 6 Schalk Burger 5 Victor Matfield 4 Flip van der Merwe 3 Jannie du Plessis 2 John Smit (C) 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp BENCH: 16 C Ralepelle 17 CJ vd Linde 18 D Rossouw 19 R Kankowski 20 R Januarie 21 B James 22 J d Jongh
AUSTRALIA: 15 Kurtley Beale 14 James O’Connor 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper 12 Matt Giteau 11 Drew Mitchell 10 Quade Cooper 9 Will Genia 8 Richard Brown 7 David Pocock 6 Rocky Elsom (C) 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Dean Mumm 3 Salesi Ma’afu 2 Saia Faingaa 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 S Moore 17 J Slipper 18 B McCalman 19 S Higginbotham 20 L Burgess 21 B Barnes 22 A Faingaa
SOUTH AFRICA 22-29 NEW ZEALAND
FNB STADIUM, SOWETO – Saturday 21st August 2010
John Smit’s 100th Test for South Africa ended in heartbreak when the All Blacks scored two tries in the last five minutes to win their Vodacom Tri-Nations encounter against the Springboks by 29-22 in front of more than 90,000 people at FNB Stadium in Soweto.
Schalk Burger scored a try in the first half for the Boks, which was converted by Morné Steyn, who also added five penalties.
Tony Woodcock got the All Blacks’ first try, with Richie McCaw and Israel Dagg crossing in the final minutes to secure the win for the visitors.
Speaking at the press conference after a very intense Test, Smit took some of the blame for the defeat on himself.
“I thought we controlled the first half well and played accurately and on our terms. In the second half we conceded a few penalties and missed touch kicks, which cost us,” said Smit.
“At 22-all we wanted to get into a good field position so that Morné Steyn can have a go at a drop-goal, but we turned over possession, I missed a crucial tackle and it was game over.
“I can’t think of anything worse than losing your 100th Test by missing a tackle at the death. I’ll be disappointed for a very long time.”
Both Smit and Bok coach Peter de Villiers praised the lesser experienced players in the squad, as well as the returning Juan Smith, who sadly had to leave the field with an injury.
“Flip van der Merwe put in a lot of hard and was quite vocal on the field. Juan Smith’s workrate was just massive and it was a huge loss when he had to come off. Francois Hougaard and Juan de Jongh both stepped up,” said Smit.
De Villiers said: “The youngsters stepped up today and we can draw a lot of confidence from how they played. If we dictate territory and possession, we can beat any team. We lost some structure in the second half and were playing less direct and more defensive.
“Those two kicks that went long were probably the turning points, as it brought us back into our half and we had to defend, where we could’ve been on the attack.
“It’s very painful, but we can take some heart from how we performed today. You need luck too, and today it went their way, as it did in the rest of the Vodacom Tri-Nations.
“Winning becomes a habit, but so can losing and we’re aware of that.”
De Villiers congratulated the All Blacks for winning the Vodacom Tri-Nations this season and added the Boks are ready to get back on the winning track in the next two Tests against Australia.
“Well done to the All Blacks – we saw last year what a great thing it is to win the Tri-Nations. They deserved it this year and played entertaining rugby. It’s a huge disappointment for us – the dressing room felt like a funeral afterwards.”
C: Steyn 5
T: Dagg, McCaw, Woodcock
C: Carter 4
SOUTH AFRICA: 15 Gio Aplon 14 JP Pietersen 13 Juan de Jongh 12 Jean de Villiers 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morne Steyn 9 Francois Hougaard 8 Pierre Spies 7 Juan Smith 6 Schalk Burger 5 Victor Matfield 4 Flip van der Merwe 3 Jannie du Plessis 2 John Smit (C) 1 Gurthro Steenkamp BENCH: 16 C Ralepelle 17 CJ van der Linde 18 D Rossouw 19 F Louw 20 R Januarie 21 B James 22 W Olivier
NEW ZEALAND: 1 Tony Woodcock 2 Keven Mealamu 3 Ben Franks 4 Brad Thorn 5 Tom Donnelly 6 Jerome Kaino 7 Richie McCaw (C) 8 Kieran Read 9 Jimmy Cowan 10 Daniel Carter 11 Josevata Rokocoko 12 Ma’a Nonu 13 Conrad Smith 14 Cory Jane 15 Mils Muliaina BENCH: 16 Corey Flynn 17 John Afoa 18 Samuel Whitelock 19 Victor Vito 20 Piri Weepu 21 Aaron Cruden 22 Israel Dagg
NEW ZEALAND 20 - 10 AUSTRALIA
AMI STADIUM, CHRISTCHURCH – Saturday 7th August 2010
NEW ZEALAND came up bonus point short of claiming the 2010 Tri Nations title but the All Blacks’ 20-10 win over Australia in Christchurch ensured they will retain possession of the Bledisloe Cup for another season.
In what was far from the prettiest of matches for the purists, the All Blacks’ defence came out on top in a battle of attrition which saw the home side conceded just one try after conceding a rare turnover ball at a breakdown where their control was poor.
Indeed, the New Zealand defence never looked like being breached by the Wallabies, who were more intent on keeping the match tight on the scoreboard than they were on throwing the ball around to try and stretch the All Blacks’ defence.
Australia minimised the chances for the All Blacks to play the game at the pace that has made them so devastating this year. By holding the ball for long periods, in close quarter, one-off driving at rucks, the Australians had more chance of remaining in touch.
But it was the mistakes in potentially good scoring situations that cost it. A classic example was seen when working their way close to the All Blacks line only to be penalised at the ruck five metres out. The other factor was the highly-effective All Blacks defensive play which shut down many Australian drives.
The load was spread across the team. However, the close-quarter play allowed lock Brad Thorn to thrive while his partner Tom Donnelly was able to show out with some uncharacteristic running play.
It was a situation which called on first five-eighths Dan Carter to play a more tactical role with some outstanding kicking for position, something which his rival Matt Giteau was not able to match, and by comparison his kicking was below par.
Added to that was Carter's superior goal-kicking which saw him land four out of four, including a vital second penalty goal with 10 minutes remaining.
Australia started in the manner expected, keeping ball close and attempting to batter their way through the All Blacks defences. But it was when failing to make any significant ground that it resorted to kicks and on the two occasions it did that in the first seven minutes the All Blacks threw in quickly.
It was the second that produced the first try after a mid-field bust by centre Conrad Smith. Ruck ball was moved for hooker Keven Mealamu to feed wing Joe Rokocoko and he found fullback Mils Muliaina on the sideline along which he raced to score his 29th try.
But after landing the conversion from wide out, Carter attempted to run the ball only to lose the ball in the tackle. It was picked up by Australian flanker David Pocock who linked with lock Nathan Sharpe. He in-passed to fullback Kurtley Beale and he was able to race 60m to score the equaliser with first Giteau adding the conversion.
Four minutes later Carter got it right when worming through the tackle, flipping the ball to halfback Piri Weepu who then spun to second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu and he was able to feed Smith over in the corner.
Carter added the conversion and while Giteau landed a 19th minute penalty goal, Carter added another penalty goal to take New Zealand out to 17-10.
Flanker David Pocock was earnest in his work throughout the night, enjoying a fascinating close-quarter contest with Richie McCaw while blindside leader and flanker Rocky Elsom was forced into a tighter role which didn't allow him his usual rampaging runs. One who did show out in that role was lock Nathan Sharpe.
T: Muliaina, C Smith
P: Carter 2
C: Carter 2
NEW ZEALAND: 15 Mils Muliaina 14 Cory Jane 13 Conrad Smith 12 Ma'a Nonu 11 Joe Rokocoko 10 Dan Carter 9 Piri Weepu 8 Kieran Read 7 Richie McCaw (C) 6 Jerome Kaino 5 Tom Donnelly 4 Brad Thorn 3 Owen Franks 2 Keven Mealamu 1 Tony Woodcock BENCH: 16 C Flynn 17 B Franks 18 S Whitelock 19 V Vito 20 A Mathewson 21 A Cruden 22 B Stanley
AUSTRALIA: 15 Kurtley Beale 14 James O'Connor 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper 12 Anthony Faigaa 11 Drew Mitchell 10 Matt Giteau 9 Will Genia; 8 Richard Brown 7 David Pocock 6 Rocky Elsom (C) 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Dean Mumm 3 Salesi Ma'afu 2 Saia Faingaa 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 S Moore 17 J Slipper 18 R Simmons 19 M Hodgson 20 L Burgess 21 B Barnes 22 C Shepherd
AUSTRALIA 28 - 49 NEW ZEALAND
ETIHAD STADIUM, MELBOURNE – Saturday 31st July 2010
THE All Blacks moved a step closer to regaining the Tri-Nations rugby crown as their ruthless efficiency extended the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup heartache to near record-setting levels with a crushing 49-28 victory in Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.
Both trophies can practically be secured in Christchurch next weekend in what promises to be an awkward homecoming for Wallabies coach Robbie Deans after his side was skewered by the rampant All Blacks who coasted after Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell was sent off for a second yellow card offence five minutes after half-time.
The All Blacks had already banked their four-try bonus point - to maintain a perfect 15-point start to the tournament - while Mitchell was serving his first suspension for a shoulder charge on All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
Referee Craig Joubert then issued a second yellow to the Wallabies first try-scorer when he batted the ball away to prevent the All Blacks taking a quick tap -- an offence the South African said would be dealt via yellow card when he admonished McCaw and rival skipper Rocky Elsom in the 34th minute for the same offence.
Mils Muliaina, Joe Rokocoko - who celebrated becoming the All Blacks most capped wing by breaking a five-test try drought - and replacement hooker Corey Flynn all scored after Mitchell's test, although the Wallabies at least stopped the All Blacks eclipsing the record 50-point haul they achieved in Sydney in 2003.
Flynn crossed in the final minute - the final example of the All Blacks profitable expansive approach -- but Dan Carter was unable to add the sideline conversion.
Adam Ashley-Cooper and Elsom nailed face-saving tries after Mitchell's demise - the first five-pointers the Wallabies have recorded against the All Blacks in five tests.
That was the only consolation for Australia - and should the All Blacks replicate the relentless form showcased in three maximum point victories in Auckland, Wellington against the world champion Springboks -- and now Melbourne -- Deans faces the prospect of presiding over the Wallabies equal worst losing streak in the history of trans-Tasman rugby.
A combination of All Black panache, poise and physicality combined to condemn Australia to an eighth successive Bledisloe Cup defeat before a crowd of 51,000.
It is their worst losing streak in 63 years - the Wallabies now risk emulating the record nine-match losing sequence built between 1936 and 1947.
The All Blacks also lost a man to the sinbin - for the first time in the tournament -- when tighthead prop Owen Franks was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Wallabies No 8 Richard Brown and New Zealand's response typified the gulf in quality between the sides.
Three minutes after Franks appeared unlucky to be sidelined for a no arms tackle, the inspirational McCaw steamed 20-metres down the sideline, beating three defenders to underscore their unforgiving approach.
Carter deliberately aimed a deep kick to Ashley-Cooper moments after the fullback was concussed when attempting to slow a rampaging Rokocoko in the 22nd minute.
A fuzzy-headed Ashley-Cooper surrendered possession to give McCaw clear air down the right hand touchline before he held Brown, Mitchell and Dean Mumm at bay.
Cory Jane was the other first half beneficiary from the All Blacks merciless ability to prey on a vulnerable opponent when he effected the bonus point try down the absent Mitchell's left flank three minutes before the break to give the All Blacks an insurmountable 32-14 advantage.
Jane, who set up the first of Muliaina's brace with a superb off balance infield kick as he was bundled into touch, squeezed over through ineffectual tackles by Brown and an unusually subdued Will Genia.
Mitchell's night had started promisingly when he charged down a ponderous Carter's clearance in the eighth minute, juggled the ball and dived over out wide after eluding Rokocoko and Carter.
The All Blacks pivot atoned for his mistake from the restart when a Berrick Barnes clearing kick defected off Carter's chest before he collected the bouncing ball and fell over the line.
T: Muliaina 2, Carter, McCaw, Jane, Rokocoko, Flynn
C: Carter 4
P: Carter 2
T: Mitchell, Ashley-Cooper, Elsom
C: Giteau 2
P: Giteau 3
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley Cooper 14 James O'Connor 13 Rob Horne 12 Berrick Barnes 11 Drew Mitchell 10 Matt Giteau 9 Will Genia 8 Richard Brown 7 David Pocock 6 Rocky Elsom (C) 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Dean Mumm 3 Salesi Ma'af 2 Stephen Moore 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 Saia Faingaa 17 James Slipper 18 Rob Simmons 19 Matt Hodgson 20 Luke Burgess 21 Anthony Faingaa 22 Kurtley Beale
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina 14 Cory Jane 13 Conrad Smith 12 Ma'a Nonu 11 Joe Rokocoko 10 Daniel Carter 9 Jimmy Cowan 8 Kieran Read 7 Richie McCaw (C) 6 Jerome Kaino 5 Tom Donnelly 4 Brad Thorn 3 Owen Franks 2 Keven Mealamu 1 Tony Woodcock BENCH: 16 Corey Flynn 17 Ben Franks 18 Sam Whitelock 19 Victor Vito 20 Piri Weepu 21 Aaron Cruden 22 Israel Dagg
AUSTRALIA 30 - 13 SOUTH AFRICA
SUNCORP STADIUM, BRISBANE – Saturday 24th July 2010
THE Tri-Nations Trophy is set to change hands in 2010 after the Springboks conceded their third straight defeat on tour, following back-to-back defeats by the All Blacks with a 30-13 defeat by Australia in Brisbane.
With a team packed with locally-based players from the Queensland Reds, the Wallabies used similar tactics to those employed last season by the Brisbane-based Super 14 franchise to fracture the South African defence by moving the ball around at pace.
The sides scored two tries a piece, but the Wallabies domination of the breakdown forced the men in green and gold to bleed penalties.
As the score-line suggested, the Wallabies were in charge from the start and two yellow cards didn't help the South African cause.
Once again there will be cries from the Republic in protest to some inconsistent refereeing but few will dispute that Australia were the superior team on the day.
The defending champions will now head home at the end of their three-match tour without a single tournament point, making any chance of reviving their title defence almost impossible.
The Boks were down to 14 men in the opening minutes for the third time in as many weeks.
Jaque Fourie was the guilty party – for a spear tackle - but unlike in New Zealand, the visitors were able to weather the storm and didn't concede points before the centre's return.
But even with a full quota on the field, the Springboks struggled to contain their free-running hosts. A few too many missed tackles had Australia rushing forward and the pressure resulted in a 12-3 lead after 30 minutes with Matt Giteau faultless from the kicking tee.
As expected, open-side David Pocock made a real nuisance of himself at the rucks and on a couple of occasions chucked a spanner in the opposition works when they looked set to strike back.
A fudged Springbok line-out on the stroke on half-time allowed the Wallabies to open up a healthy lead when Drew Mitchell juggled his way over the line, sending the teams to the changing rooms with the hosts up 17-3.
Australia pressed home their advantage after the break as Giteau and James O'Connor added a penalty each to stretch the lead to 23-3.
The second of those penalties saw BJ Botha sent to the bin for killing Wallabies ball in an attacking position. Quade Cooper was also given his marching orders for a spear tackle and the visitors used the extra man to build some momentum.
A quick-tap penalty from Ruan Pienaar opened the way for Fourie to muscle his way over from short range but the horse had already bolted.
South Africa sparked hopes of a late comeback when Gurthro Steenkamp charged over after a line-out inside the last ten minutes.
But he hosts had the last laugh when Will Genia dived over after being set up by a rolling maul in the dying minutes, capping a superb performance by the Wallabies.
T: Mitchell, Genia
P: Giteau 5, O'Connor
T: Fourie, Steenkamp
AUSTRALIA: 15 Adam Ashley Cooper 14 James O’Connor 13 Rob Horne 12 Matt Giteau 11 Drew Mitchell 10 Quade Cooper 9 Will Genia 8 Richard Brown 7 David Pocock 6 Rocky Elsom (C) 5 Nathan Sharpe 4 Dean Mumm 3 Salesi Ma’afu 2 Saia Fainga 1 Benn Robinson BENCH: 16 Stephen Moore 17 James Slipper 18 Rob Simmons 19 Ben McCalman 20 Luke Burgess 21 Berrick Barnes 22 Kurt Beale
SOUTH AFRICA: 15 Zane Kirchner 14 Gio Aplon 13 Jaque Fourie 12 Wynand Oliver 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morné Steyn 9 Ruan Pienaar 8 Pierre Spies 7 Ryan Kankowski 6 Schalk Burger 5 Victor Matfield 4 Danie Rossouw 3 BJ Botha 2 John Smit (C) 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp BENCH: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle 17 CJ van der Linde 18 Flip van der Merwe 19 Dewald Potgieter 20 Francois Hougaard 21 Butch James 22 Juan de Jongh
NEW ZEALAND 31 - 17 SOUTH AFRICA
WESTPAC STADIUM, WELLINGTON – Saturday 17th July 2010
NEW ZEALAND repeated their opening weekend Auckland Tri-Nations heroics to clock up a double over world champions South Africa with another polished performance to see off the Springboks 31-17 in Wellington.
It was a bad case of deja vu for the Boks as once again the All Blacks took advantage of a yellow card shown early on - this time to banned Bakkies Botha's replacement Danie Rossouw – scoring ten points while Roussouw was in the cooler.
South Africa showed a lot of character to claw their way back and narrow the lead to 13-7 at half-time, but the home side was just far too clinical on their way to a second successive bonus-point win to ensure maximum ten points from their two opening home fixtures.
South Africa now limp across the Tasman to Australia pointless and seemingly bereft of ideas after another mauling by a highly-motivated All Blacks side whose superior inventiveness, precision and individual class was a joy to watch.
The Boks were lucky that Dan Carter had a bad day with the boot, missing five shots at goal which made the score-line look closer than it should have been.
Rossouw, making his 50th Test appearance in place of the suspended Botha, was binned after a skirmish with Richie McCaw after just four minute and the All Blacks capitalised clinically, racing into a 10-0 lead with their opponents a man down.
Ma'a Nonu opened the scoring, powering over a ruck of bodies in the seventh minute to ground the ball but Carter, who had missed an earlier penalty, was again off-target with the conversion.
Five minutes later the home side struck again when a fine break from Piri Weepu sliced open the Springboks' static defence and full-back Mills Muliaina - who showed impressive pace - raced away down the right wing to score another unconverted try in the corner.
Carter landed his first effort in four attempts –a penalty - on the half-hour before South Africa grabbed a lifeline three minutes before the break when Rossouw crashed over and Morne Steyn added the extras.
Any hopes of a second-half Springbok comeback died when Rene Ranger marked his first Test start with a try six minutes after the break to extend the All Blacks’ lead and after Carter missed the conversion, Weepu clipped over a 40-metre penalty to make it 21-10.
The home side’s bonus-point win was sealed 14 minutes later when replacement Israel Dagg producing two sizzling sidesteps to go past Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger and Kirchner before touching down.
Burger barged his way over for a late Springbok consolation try but the All Blacks were full value for their win and are already in pole position to regain the Tri-Nations title.
T: Nonu, Muliana, Ranger, Dagg
P: Carter 2, Weepu
T: Rossouw, Burger
C: Steyn 2
NEW ZEALAND: 15 Mils Muliaina 14 Cory Jane 13 Conrad Smith 12 Ma’a Nonu 11 Rene Ranger 10 Dan Carter 9 Piri Weepu 1 Tony Woodcock 2 Keven Mealamu 3 Owen Franks 4 Brad Thorn 5 Tom Donnelly 6 Jerome Kaino 7 Richie McCaw (C) 8 Kieran Read BENCH: 16 Corey Flynn 17 Ben Franks 18 Sam Whitelock 19 Liam Messam 20 Jimmy Cowan 21 Aaron Cruden 22 Israel Dagg
SOUTH AFRICA: 15 Zane Kirchner 14 Jean de Villiers 13 Jaque Fourie 12 Wynand Olivier 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morne Steyn 9 Ricky Januarie 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp 2 John Smit (C) 3 CJ van der Linde 4 Danie Rossouw 5 Victor Matfield 6 Schalk Burger 7 Francois Louw 8 Pierre Spies BENCH: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle 17 BJ Botha 18 Andre Bekker 19 Ryan Kankowski 20 Ruan Pienaar 21 Butch James 22 Gio Aplon
NEW ZEALAND 32 - 12 SOUTH AFRICA
EDEN PARK, AUCKLAND – Saturday 9th July 2010
Eden Park has bad history with the Springboks – the last time they won at the All Blacks’ fortress was 1937, and the spectre of defeat still holds 73 years later. Though the Springboks kicked off on the right foot scoring first, by half time the All Blacks had slowly started to strangle the life out of the Bokke, and in a long second half choked them into total submission.
The first incident of the match was missed entirely by referee Alan Lewis when Springbok lock, Bakkies Botha, head-butted All Blacks scrum half, Jimmy Cowan. The citing officer, however, did clock it and as a result of a judicial hearing, Botha was suspended from play for nine weeks, allowing him to return to action from the 5th September, the day after the Tri Nations ends. Though the offence was deemed mid-range of seriousness, and Botha both admitted the offence and expressed remorse, his previous record was taken into account and a harsher sentence was imposed.
The Springboks conceded the first penalty but lucky for them, Dan Carter had not yet settled so early in the game and missed the kick at goal. And though Morne Steyn’s drop goal attempt fell wide, his first penalty cleared the cross bar and opened scoring for the green and gold.
The Springboks looked dangerous to begin with, and Jean de Villiers almost crossed the try line but was pulled back for a forward pass. Bakkies Botha committed a professional foul and for his trouble was awarded time out in the sin bin, allowing Carter to equalise the score at 3-3.
The ensuing play saw the Bokke concede 10 points in as many minutes whilst down to 14 men, with a try from Conrad Smith and a penalty kick from Carter following a collapsed scrum.
With 30 minutes gone, the Springboks again looked on the verge of scoring but Bryan Habana’s foot swept into touch before he could ground the ball, and within seconds the All Blacks had taken the ball back deep into Springbok territory. Joe Rokocoko shot down the wing and Ma’a Nonu scored the second try for the All Blacks; Carter’s boot took the home side into half time leading 20 points to 3.
The beginning of the second half saw Steyn add two penalty scores within 6 minutes, but the reprieve for the Springboks was just temporary as All Black No. 8 Kieran Read went over to score his second try in test rugby. Dan Carter’s accuracy cancelled out the Springbok points gain in a flash and the All Blacks were comfortably leading 27 - 9 just before the end of the third quarter.
As replacements started to come onto the paddock, Steyn scored his fourth and final penalty for the match. The final quarter started well with the Springboks securing both possession and territory, but Schalk Burger lost the ball forward to the All Blacks. Within 5 minutes the Springboks knocked on again, simply gifting opportunities to their opposition. Butch James replaced Morne Steyn, but the Bokke were obviously rattled as he immediately got into one fracas after another and was warned by the ref.
The Bokke were being convincingly outplayed by the All Blacks, and in a final flourish, prop Tony Woodcock left the Springboks looking bewildered as he crossed the line for a final try one minute from time. Carter failed to convert but the All Blacks left a definitive marker beating the Springboks 32 – 12 in the opening Tri Nations match.
So early on, however, is not the time to make huge judgement calls on who will go on to win the 2010 tournament; last year South Africa did win the Tri Nations and did lose a game too. One great performance at home does banish last year’s bad memories of annihilation by the Bokke, and though it does not guarantee tournament victory, it does bode well for the Rugby World Cup’s host nation next year.
T: Nonu, Read, Smith, Woodcock
C: Carter 3
P: Carter 2
NEW ZEALAND: 15 Mils Muliaina 14 Cory Jane 13 Conrad Smith 12 Ma’a Nonu 11 Joe Rokocoko 10 Dan Carter 9 Jimmy Cowan 1Tony Woodcock 2 Keven Mealamu 3 Owen Franks 4 Brad Thorn 5 Tom Donnelly 6 Jerome Kaino 7 Richie McCaw (C) 8 Kieran Read BENCH: 16 Corey Flynn 17 Ben Franks 18 Sam Whitelock 19 Liam Messam 20 Piri Weepu 21 Aaron Cruden 22 Richard Kahui
SOUTH AFRICA: 15 Zane Kirchner 14 Jean de Villiers 13 Jaque Fourie 12 Wynand Olivier 11 Bryan Habana 10 Morne Steyn 9 Ricky Januarie 1 Gurthro Steenkamp 2 John Smit (C) 3 Jannie du Plessis 4 Bakkies Botha 5 Victor Matfield 6 Schalk Burger 7 Francois Louw 8 Pierre Spies BENCH: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle 17 BJ Botha 18 Andre Bekker 19 Danie Rossouw 20 Ruan Pienaar 21 Butch James 22 Gio Aplon