All Blacks rout Springboks at home
Doug Howlett on his way to a brace of tries against South Africa © Getty Images
The All Blacks, on their way to a Tri-Nations Grand Slam in World Cup year, were in commanding form in a 52-16, seven-try victory over the Springboks in Pretoria. South Africa, who had beaten Australia a week earlier and were unbeaten in 2003, were utterly outclassed as New Zealand ran in seven tries on their way to a record win over the Springboks. The local press were savage in their assessment. "Yes, it's time to panic," said the Sunday Times describing the defeat at Loftus Versfeld as "the rugby equivalent of a car wreck". The Afrikaans Rapport referred to the "slaughter of Loftus", while Dawie Snyman, a Springbok full-back in the 1970s, said: "I hope the Springbok coaches now know who the passengers in the side are."
Australia scraped to a 16-9 victory over South Africa in their Tri-Nations clash at the Subiaco Oval in Perth. The Springboks came into the match on the back of a win over the All Blacks but rarely threatened to fire against an average Wallabies side who held on, largely as a result of handling errors. In the final minutes Bryan Habana dropped the ball as he dived for the line their last chance had gone. "We didn't foresee this," said South Africa's coach Peter de Villiers. "We expected to have a better contest. I believe we controlled a lot of the game but on the day they outstripped us, especially on the ground. We didn't deliver." He was more circumspect over referee Bryce Lawrence who the Independent on Sunday said was "abysmal".
Karl Mullen's Lions had to dig deep to fend off the stern challenge provided by North Auckland at Whangarei. The Lions, who led 8-0 at the break, held off a second-half comeback to win 8-6 thanks to tries by Ken Jones and Bill McKay and a conversion by Welsh prop John Robins.
Aironi Rugby and Praetorians Roma Rugby were chosen as the Italian franchises to represent Italy in the Magners League from the 2010-2011 season. The Viadana-based Aironi team and the Praetorians side, that would play in Rome, were selected by the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) to join their rivals from Ireland, Scotland and Wales in an expanded Celtic competition.
Auckland, holders of the Ranfurly Shield since 1905, had a close shave at home against Wellington, winning by the narrowest of margins - 6-5 - to retain their grip on the trophy.
The French side touring South Africa had a good 16-14 win against a strong Eastern Transvaal/Natal/Transvaal Combined XV in Springs. Flanker Francois Moncla scored two tries for the visitors. As a result of a prior agreement, replacements were permitted and Roger Martine came on at fullback for the French when Michel Vannier was seriously injured.