Tri Nations 2000
Free-scoring Springboks stun All Blacks
August 19, 2000
Report Match details
Date/Time: Aug 19, 2000, 17:00 local, 15:00 GMT
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
South Africa 46 - 40 New Zealand
Attendance: 57233  Half-time: 33 - 27
Tries: Delport, Fleck 2, Swanepoel 2, Williams
Cons: van Straaten 5
Pens: van Straaten 2
Tries: Cullen 2, Umaga 2
Cons: Mehrtens 4
Pens: Mehrtens 3
Drops: Mehrtens
Thinus Delport outpaces Andrew Mehrtens to score during the Tri Natiosn clash between South Africa and New Zealand at Ellis Park, August 19 2000
Thinus Delport outpaces Andrew Mehrtens to score
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The Springboks ended their losing streak in spectacular fashion at Ellis Park on Saturday when they defeated the All Blacks 46-40. Some 57,000 people saw the Boks enjoy a 33-27 halftime lead in a thrill-a-minute Tri-Nations match.

The fireworks which lit up the stadium after the final whistle were almost pale in comparison with the stunning rugby produced by both sides. The Boks thoroughly deserved the standing ovation on their victory lap.

All the pieces in coach Nick Mallett's puzzle finally fell into place on Saturday - to absolutely breathtaking effect. Moreover, it was a great team effort by the home team, who scored six tries to the four of the All Blacks - and this after the Boks had failed to score a try in two Tri-Nations matches.

The Boks now have five log points, while the All Blacks - thanks to the two bonus points they clinched - are still in a position to win the Tri-Nations. If the Boks beat Australia in Durban next week and restrict them to one point, the Kiwis will win the Tri-Nations.

The Boks played with a lot of passion and defended as if their lives depended on it - especially in those last heart-stopping moments when they had to keep the All Blacks at bay.

This was the most points ever scored by the Springboks against the All Blacks. It also was the highest scoring game between the two.

A razor-sharp Robbie Fleck shook off his bad form of the last couple of weeks with a virtuoso performance at inside centre. He and Werner Swanepoel were the stars on attack.

Mallett said earlier this week he wanted better organisation on defence, improved lineout work and the players to take their opportunities. They obliged.

South Africa took the lead in the eighth minute when crowd favourite Chester Williams broke through a Christian Cullen tackle. Andrew Mehrtens slotted the first points with a penalty.

Captain Andre Vos picked up from the base of a scrum on the All Blacks 22, fed scrumhalf Swanepoel, who made a half-break with Thinus Delport on his shoulder as decoy runner before throwing an overhead pass to Williams.

In the 11th minute, Fleck's darted through for a great try after the Boks used second-phase ball to devastating effect. Van Straaten extended the lead to 14-3, but the All Blacks showed just how dangerous they are from broken play when Alama Ieremiah swooped onto a loose ball after a Bok backline move went awry and Mehrtens sent away Tana Umaga for a try under the posts.

Mehrtens converted and the All Blacks were back in contention at 10-14. In the 19th minute, a Mehrtens penalty made the score 13-14.

In the 23th minute South Africa went further ahead after Swanepoel caught Mehrtens after a scrum. The Boks poached the ball at the ensuing ruck and Fleck beat Taine Randell on the inside and there was no stopping the flying centre. Van Straaten converted (21-13).

The Boks stunned the New Zealanders again in the 29th minute when Swanepoel scored after a breathtaking move to secure the Boks' first bonus point in the Tri-Nations series. The move started deep inside the Boks' half when Rassie Erasmus took the ball up and from the ruck and put Corne Krige in possession.

He spotted a gap and ran 40 metres before offloading to Fleck. From the subsequent ruck, Swanepoel dived over (26-13).

The try-hungry Boks were at it again when Delport rounded Cullen after Fleck again injected pace in a backline movement. Esterhuizen sent away the powerful Delport, who was unstoppable from 35 metres out. Van Straaten added the two points and South Africa were sitting pretty at 33-13.

The All Blacks showed fighting spirit and Cullen waltzed through for a try after the visitors put the ball through several phases. Cullen, in the process, erased Jeff Wilson's name from the record books as New Zealand's top Test try-scorer.

Just before halftime the All Blacks made it clear that they weren't content to see their chances of retaining their crown slip away when Umaga easily beat a flat-footed Charl Marais to dot down under the posts. Mehrtens converted and it was 33-27 at halftime.

The Boks extended their lead two minutes into the second half after sustained pressure. Van Straaten slotted the penalty (36-27).

But in the 46th minute Cullen, who injured his hamstring in the move and had to lead the field, weaved some magic again when he used his pace to round Delport in the corner. Mehrtens converted (34-36).

After a failed attempted drop goal by Williams, the All Blacks threw everything into attack and a barn-storming Lomu was stopped short of the line. Cole then adjudged Fleck offside and Mehrtens gave his side the lead for the second time (37-36).

South Africa struck back when Van Straaten succeeded with a penalty (39-37). Mehrtens felt the pressure when he failed with a 42-metre penalty attempt in the 61st minute. He made up for his mishap with a 35-metre drop goal in the 66th minute.

The Springboks came back when substitute prop John Smit charged through to set up a ruck close to the All Black tryline. Swanepoel squeezed through the tackles of replacement prop Greg Somerville and Cribb to score close to the posts. Van Straaten converted (46-40).

After a controversial penalty, when Cole ruled lock Andre Venter didn't use his arms in a tackle on Josh Kronfeld, the All Blacks opted to kick for position. And when they got another penalty in front of the Bok posts, they opted to scrum - two decisions they would rue on Sunday.


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