South Africa v New Zealand, Tri-Nations, August 1
Record-breaking Steyn powers Boks to victory
August 1, 2009
Morne Steyn scored all of the Springboks' points in Durban
© Getty Images
Morne Steyn produced a record-breaking display to power the Springboks to victory over New Zealand in Durban.
The fly-half scored all of his side's points in a 31-19 win at Kings Park and eclipsed the Tri-Nations record for most points in a game, 29, set by New Zealand's Andrew Mehrtens against Australia in 1999.
On a day that saw Springbok skipper John Smit become the most-capped captain of all time and 50th Tests for Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana, Steyn upstaged them all by relentlessly punishing a ragged and ill-disciplined All Blacks side.
The Blue Bulls pivot finished with a try, conversion and eight penalties - seeing his shot at a full-house disappear when a second-half drop-goal cannoned off an upright.
The visitors had taken an unlikely lead through lock Isaac Ross, who rounded off their most fluent effort of the game, but despite the best efforts of Stephen Donald with the boot the All Blacks were overrun in a desperately disappointing display for coach Graham Henry.
The All Blacks boss chose not to alter the mechanics of their lineout after hooker Andrew Hore faltered terribly in Bloemfontein last weekend, and the Kiwis again struggled to win any of their own ball. They were guilty of running the ball from deep and any loose play was mercilessly pounced upon by the revelatory Springbok openside Heinrich Brussow.
Donald was immediately under pressure, knocking on under his first high-ball before rescuing the All Blacks as scrum-half Jimmy Cowan had his first box-kick charged down. The All Blacks were forced back by the sheer weight of numbers of the Springboks, whose ferocity and desire appeared undimmed from last weekend.
Steyn handed the hosts the lead following a penalty against Mils Muliaina, a lead that was immediately cancelled out by Donald.
Despite the helter-skelter nature of the opening, the All Blacks' try was a sweeping team move that spanned a full 50 metres. Ma'a Nonu, so subdued last week, produced a block-busting break to set the visitors on their way and after input from Sitiveni Sivivatu, Muliana, Jerome Kaino, Donald and Cowan, Canterbury lock Ross darted over in the corner to score.
Donald curled in a picturesque conversion from the touchline, before Steyn showed the All Blacks exactly how dangerous he is from the kicking tee. With two infringements in kickable distance in three minutes, New Zealand allowed Steyn to draw his side back to within a point.
The All Blacks, their deficiencies at the lineout apparent in the opening minute and clearly weighing on their minds, resolved to keep ball in hand but their accuracy let them down and contributed to a rash of penalties as the half wore on.
A drop-goal attempt from Steyn sailed wide, after his forwards had won a scrum against the head, before a rasping break from his 22 by Joe Rokocoko led to a high tackle on the supporting Cowan from JP Pietersen. The Springbok wing was sent to the bin, and Donald knocked over the resulting penalty for a three-point lead against the run of play.
Ross, the try hero minutes earlier, followed him to the bin almost immediately. After a fast and loose series of phases, Bismarck du Plessis took charge at the base of a ruck, and when Ross came in from the side it was deemed a professional foul. Steyn scored the penalty as the sides were both reduced to 14 players.
The loss of their second-row proved to be a pivotal moment in the half for the All Blacks, with the Springboks able to capitalise on their lack of organisation as the break approached. As the All Black back-row dithered at the base of a five-metre scrum, Fourie du Preez snaffled the ball, firing a pass to Steyn, who added a try to his haul of penalties by slashing back against the grain and outfoxing Cowan.
New Zealand, certainly rattled, failed to look after the ball for long periods of the half and a final moment of farcical defence saw Muliaina pinged for offside in front of the sticks - Steyn did not have to be asked twice.
Hore was hauled from the field after only three minutes of the second-half, having already seen his first throw called not straight, and Cowan was also ignominiously withdrawn. His replacement, Piri Weepu, endured a horrible start and hacked his first clearance to the five-metre line to pile further pressure on his side.
They escaped thanks to some excellent defence, and saw some light at the end of the tunnel when mountainous Springbok lock Bakkies Botha became the third player to be sin-binned. Sivivatu, turning down a mark, sparked a scintillating break from his own 22 and brought Muliaina and Conrad Smith in to play. When Smith chipped ahead and looked to gather and score he was hauled down by an offside Botha, who duly went for a spell on the touchline.
Donald took three points out of the Springbok lead, but his side's discipline immediately slipped and Steyn extended his, and his side's, total to 25. Luke McAlister made a grandstand entrance to score a 50-metre penalty with his first touch, three points that were again handed back by the All Blacks.
Steyn completed his record-breaking evening by hammering the final nail in the All Black coffin, slotting his eighth penalty as the Kiwis' scrum submitted in the shadow of their own posts.
There will certainly be some soul searching for the All Blacks ahead of their next Test against Australia on August 22, while the Springboks can look forward to getting their hands on the Wallabies in Cape Town next weekend.
South Africa: Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, John Smit (capt), Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brüssow, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Jannie du Plessis, Andries Bekker, Danie Rossouw, Ricky Januarie, Adi Jacobs, Wynand Olivier
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Joe Rokocoko, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Stephen Donald, Jimmy Cowan, Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn, Isaac Ross, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Jason Eaton, Kieran Read, Piri Weepu, Luke McAlister, Cory Jane