Tri Nations 2005
Springboks bring All Blacks down to earth
August 6, 2005
Bryan Habana gets to grips with All Black replacement Derren Witcombe
© Getty Images
South Africa maintained their unbeaten start to the defence of their Tri Nations crown with a deserved 22-16 triumph over New Zealand in Cape Town.
A superb defensive display was the key for the Springboks who extended their impressive home record under Jake White to 11 consecutive games thanks largely to a try form Jean De Villiers and fourteen points from the boot of Percy Montgomery.
That new mark eclipses the previous record of 10 achieved by the Springboks between 1960 and 1963.
And after the 40-26 win at Ellis Park in 2004, the victory represents just the second occasion since re-admission that the Boks have gained back-to-back victories over New Zealand.
The only other time they achieved the feat post-isolation, was back in 1998 when, under Nick Mallett, the Boks won 13-3 in Wellington and 24-23 in Durban, before going on to clinch their first title.
The All Blacks were never allowed to assert themsevles in the game and struggled to find the impressive form that inspired the 3-0 series victory over the British & Irish Lions 3-0 in their Test series earlier this year.
The victory cements the Springboks´ place at the top of the Tri Nations table, following victory over Australia last weekend, and puts them in a strong position ahead of the overseas leg of the competition.
The Springboks also move into the number two spot in the IRB Rankings behind the All Blacks with this victory but now have to prove they can win away from home.
Fly-half and kingpin Daniel Carter looked rattled at times, while the Bok forwards put in some major hits throughout to catch their opponents behind the advantage line time and time again.
In contrast, the Bok forwards were superb, with locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha troubling the All Blacks in the set phases and some strong tackling nullifying the threat of Jerry Collins as a runner.
In a game which was always going to be tight, it was the home side who first troubled the scoreboard when fullback Percy Montgomery put them ahead with an easy penalty in the second minute.
The Boks raced ahead to a 13-0 lead - leaving the All Blacks shellshocked - after a perfectly timed drop goal by Andre Pretorius and a sublime intercept by midfielder Jean de Villiers in his own 22 led to a long range try.
All Black winger Rico Gear had just scythed his way through the midfield, offloaded to Byron Kelleher, who popped the ball back into De Villiers´ hands and watched as the Bok midfielder sprinted 70 metres to score.
Montgomery added the extras but it was a short lived scoreline as the All Blacks clawed their way back to level the scores before the half hour was up.
Carter put them on the scoreboard when the Boks infringed in front of their own posts, before he picked up an aimless kick from Montgomery in the midfield, attacked left and the recycled ball was spun through two skip passes before Gear went over in the corner.
The Boks were caught offside close to their own line, and Carter levelled the scores.
The Boks forced a penalty just before the half time whistle to go into the break 16-13 up and added another eight minutes into the second half when All Black flanker Richie McCaw was penalised for hands in the ruck.
Montgomery put the Boks 22-13 up when Tony Woodcock was disciplined for not binding in a scrum, and it looked as if the Boks were home and dry.
The All Blacks put everything into the last 20 minutes, but were frustrated by the Bok defence and their own mistakes.
Carter managed another penalty to put them within striking range, but it was too little, and much too late.
South Africa: 22 Try: De Villiers Con: Montgomery Pen: Montgomery (4) Drop: Pretorius
New Zealand: 16 Try: Gear Con: Carter Pen: Carter (3)
South Africa: du Randt, Smit, van der Linde, B. Botha, Matfield, Burger, Smith, van Niekerk, Januarie, Pretorius, Habana, de Villiers, Fourie, Paulse, Montgomery.
Replacements: Shimange, Steenkamp, van den Berg, Cronje, du Preez, Julies, van der Westhuyzen.
New Zealand: Woodcock, Mealamu, Hayman, Jack, Williams, Collins, McCaw, So´oialo, Kelleher, Carter, Muliaina, Mauger, Umaga, Gear, MacDonald.
Replacements: Witcombe, Somerville, Ryan, Holah, Weepu, McAlister, Rokocoko.
Referee: A Cole (Australia)