Tri Nations 2001
All Blacks power past Springboks
August 25, 2001
Tana Umaga skips out of a tackle at a rainy Eden Park
© Getty Images
New Zealand turned back a rising tide of public criticism when it beat South Africa 26-15 in a Tri-Nations rugby union test at Eden Park on Saturday.
Inside center Pita Alatini scored a first-half try for New Zealand and a second-half penalty try gave the All Blacks its winning advantage.
Recalled flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens converted both of New Zealand tries and added four penalties while Braam van Straaten provided all of South Africa's points from penalty kicks.
The match was played in wet and slippery conditions which the All Blacks mastered more convincingly than South Africa.
Alatini provided their first points in the seventh minute when he scored after a succession of phases and persistent pressure on the South African goalline. Mehrtens converted.
Van Straaten and Mehrtens added two penalties each before halftime when New Zealand led 13-9.
Mehrtens added two further penalties in the second half to increase New Zealand's advantage to 19-9 before a penalty try made their lead conclusive. Hooker Lukas van Biljon was penalized for a tackle without the ball and the resulting penalty try, converted by Mehrtens, made New Zealand's advantage 26-9.
Van Straaten added two further penalties to narrow the lead but South Africa wasted several more scoring chances before the final whistle.
The win was important for New Zealand which had been criticized after its 23-15 Tri-Nations loss to Australia two weeks ago.
NEW ZEALAND 26 (Pita Alatini try; penalty try; Andrew Mehrtens 2 conversions, 4 penalties)
SOUTH AFRICA 15 (Braam van Straaten 5 penalties).