All Blacks blitz Boks in Cape Town
August 16, 2008
Conrad Smith beats Butch James to score the All Blacks opening try
© Getty Images
The latest chapter in this year's Tri-Nations was played out in Cape Town on Saturday as the All Blacks scored three tries and shut out the Springboks 19-0.
World champions South Africa were unable to mark Percy Montgomery's 100th appearance with a victory as the All Blacks gained a valuable victory in Cape Town. The match was meant to be a celebration of South African legend Montgomery, but for the Springboks it turned out to be a nightmare as tries from Conrad Smith, Dan Carter and Keven Mealamu proved their undoing.
New Zealand made the most of their chances to secure a victory which probably secures coach Graham Henry's job and puts one hand on the Tri-Nations trophy for the All Blacks. Montgomery became the first Springbok to a century of caps but the match was one which will leave coach Peter de Villiers with more questions than answers concerning the team's future.
The Springboks created more than enough opportunities, despite several crucial decisions going against them by referee Matt Goddard, and they only had themselves to blame for the defeat.
The Boks were also beaten on several occasions at the breakdown in a match which was highly entertaining and played at an exceptional pace, with All Blacks fly-half Carter having an uncharacteristically off day with the boot, missing five kicks at goal.
In the fourth wave of early attacks from New Zealand, the ball moved squarely to captain Richie McCaw, who put a grubber behind a flat defence and watched as Smith beat Butch James in a desperate sprint for the ball behind the try line. Carter was unable to convert.
By half-time the scoreline had not changed, and it seemed as if the game was going to be a low-scoring affair, especially when the hosts fluffed more chances early in the second half. With the prospect of tries looking more distant with every missed opportunity, it was two penalties - both when Fourie du Preez was shoulder-charged by All Blacks Jimmy Cowan and Brad Thorn - which brought penalties that could have helped the Springbok cause.
Montgomery, who was having a dismal game, missed both chances. South Africa had a let-off when Montgomery - who was later replaced - and JP Pietersen forced John Afoa out in the corner, with the TV replays confirming he had not scored a try.
But it was only a matter of time before Carter found a gap close to the line and danced his way through to score the second New Zealand try and give the visitors some breathing space. Minutes later a nightmare pass on his own line by Jean de Villiers into the hands of replacement hooker Mealamu gifted the All Blacks their third try.