Springboks bounce back with win
September 2, 2006
Jean de Villiers and Ruan Pienaar celebrate the Springboks' victory
© Getty Images
The Springboks sat bolt upright in their coffin, stunning the All Blacks 21-20 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium´s first rugby test here today and ending the tourists´ winning streak at 15 matches. In a massive turnaround from the All Blacks´ 45-26 win in Pretoria a week ago, the Springboks stepped it up several notches and the tourists at times looked to have their minds on the flight home after nine tests in 12 weeks when they were crowned Tri-Nations champions.
The energetic Andre Pretorius, who came in for Butch James at first five-eighth, sparked the Springboks and he was the hero three minutes from time when he nailed his third penalty from 35m out wide to clinch victory after both sides scored two tries. When English referee Chris White blew for fulltime the Springboks leapt and embraced like they´d won the World Cup. Pretorius´ opposite number Daniel Carter, along with free-running flanker Jerry Collins, did their best to inspire the All Blacks but errors cost them and the Boks kept their energy up until the end.
It looked as if the All Blacks would get out of jail when wing Joe Rokocoko dived over to score out wide from a Mils Muliaina grubber 14 minutes from fulltime, and Carter nailed the sideline conversion from wide out to make it 20-18. The All Blacks´ lineout was again a disappointment and their backplay disjointed under pressure from the big tackling home defence. In the early stanzas it was shades of Pretoria a week ago as the All Blacks started sluggishly and the hosts tore into their work, rattled the visitors with heavy defence and led 6-3 after the first quarter. It took until the 21st minute for the All Blacks backs to find their poise and get the ball through the hands, and it led to their first try.
After Rokocoko entered the line, Carter put Chris Jack through a big gap on the second phase, he offloaded to the ever-present Jerry Collins who returned it to Carter to score under the bar. But the lead was shortlived, with South Africa´s intercept king Bryan Habana pouncing on a Rodney So´oialo pass two minutes later and scooting 30m to score. The All Blacks hammered away for the halftime lead, hooker Andrew Hore dived over the line but was denied by television official Hugh Watkins of Wales who ruled obstruction from So´oialo. A 40m Carter penalty on halftime levelled the scores.
If the All Blacks thought it would open up after the break,they were mistaken as their lineout started to misfire and the Springboks pack kept up the pressure. Collins, Carter and Aaron Mauger stormed through gaps but the passes wouldn´t stick and the Boks countered. The Springboks reclaimed the lead with 25 minutes left after they pilfered another lineout, the quick-thinking Pretorius went blind and No 8 Pedrie Wannenburg dived over in the corner. Coach Graham Henry emptied his bench and halfback Byron Kelleher´s energy had an immediate impact when he scooted down the blind, the All Blacks set it up and Muliaina´s grubber found Rokocoko who just dotted down before the dead ball line. It was So´oialo´s indiscretion which sealed the result when White ruled him offside at a ruck.
Scores: South Africa 21 (Bryan Habana, Pedrie Wannenburg tries; Andre Pretorius 3 pen, con) New Zealand 20 (Daniel Carter, Joe Rokocoko tries; Carter 2 pen, 2 con).
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