Rugby Championship
New Zealand resist Springboks in Wellington
ESPN Staff
September 13, 2014
Date/Time: Sep 13, 2014, 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
New Zealand 14 - 10 South Africa
Attendance: 35747  Half-time: 6 - 7
Tries: McCaw
Pens: Barrett, Cruden 2
Tries: Hendricks
Cons: Pollard
Drops: Pollard
New Zealand's Richie McCaw scores his 24th Test try, New Zealand v South Africa, Rugby Championship, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, September 13, 2014
New Zealand's Richie McCaw scored his 24th Test try
© Getty Images
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The All Blacks resisted a dogged Springboks challenge to win 14-10 and take a firm grip on a third successive Rugby Championship title. New Zealand dominated possession and territory but couldn't make it count on the scoreboard, eventually holding on to beat their historic rivals for a fifth successive Test.

Outstanding South African defence nearly earned them a win but an assault on the home side's line over the last seven minutes was unsuccessful. That was a rare period of attack for the visitors, who were forced to attempt 155 tackles to New Zealand's 77, yet conceded just one try, to captain Richie McCaw.

Hansen praised his team for not losing their cool as they failed to make their control count, often through untimely handling errors or ill-directed kicks.

"It probably wasn't the prettiest game in the world but it was a tough, tough Test," he said. "The character of the side's been tested a few times in recent years and they keep coming up with an A-class pass mark."

They crossed against the run of play through wing Cornal Hendricks to lead 7-6 at half-time but rarely threatened the tryline again until the end.

Victory lifts the unbeaten All Blacks to 16 points in the championship, seven clear of South Africa with two rounds to play. In their last home game of the year, it extends New Zealand's world record winning streak on home soil to 36.

Lock Brodie Retallick and No.8 Kieran Read led the way as the All Blacks dominated the breakdown. Ben Smith was their best back, the wing making a series of surging runs when forced into the unfamiliar role of inside centre in the second spell following injury to Ma'a Nonu.

"What a class act. He'd never played second five in his life and he's come in there and done a great job."

South Africa's Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield monster New Zealand's Ben Smith © Getty Images

Hansen says his players will work on communication between backs and forwards in the lead up to their next Test, against Argentina in La Plata in two weeks.

Drizzle made the ball slippery but it didn't stop New Zealand adopting a ball-in-hand approach for much of the contest, continually using quick passes around the ruck to get over the advantage line.

An impressive Victor Matfield-led lineout and bullocking displays from loose forwards Marcell Coetzee and Duane Vermeulen wasn't enough to prevent South Africa posting a win for captain Jean de Villiers, who was playing his 100th Test. It was their second loss in a week after going down by one point to the Wallabies in Perth.

All Blacks five-eighth Aaron Cruden's penalties in the 11th and 24th minutes were eclipsed by the converted try to wing Hendricks. Springboks No.10 Handre Pollard justified his inclusion ahead of veteran Morne Steyn with a sweet inside pass to put Hendricks over untouched in the 16th minute against the run of play.

Read's athleticism set up McCaw's try in the 47th minute, leaping high to claim a Cruden cross-kick before offloading to his overlapping skipper to score in the corner. Pollard landed a dropped goal soon afterwards but missed a long-range penalty which would have put his team in front. Replacement New Zealand five-eighth Beauden Barrett made no such mistake with 13 minutes to play.

New Zealand 14-10 South Africa (Australia only)
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