Boks bag first win of the year

20th Aug 2011, 20:24

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All 18 points: Morne Steyn

All 18 points: Morne Steyn

Morné Steyn kicked all of South Africa's points as they beat New Zealand 18-5 in Saturday's Tri-Nations clash in Port Elizabeth.

Morné Steyn kicked all of South Africa's points as they beat New Zealand 18-5 in Saturday's Tri-Nations clash in Port Elizabeth.

The All Blacks scored the only try of the game, but were outmuscled up front by their hosts. The whole Bok team tackled their hearts out and Steyn's strong tactical kicking, especially in the second half, allowed them to keep the visitors pinned back.

As has become the norm in clashes between these sides, the All Blacks looked the more dangerous side with ball in hand, but the Springboks can count themselves deserved winners and will take encouragement from their improvement in defence and at scrum time in their final game before the World Cup.

It was South Africa's best performance of the year - by some margin - but the Springbok management will continue to be concerned by their team's inability to cross the try line. (Peter de Villiers' team have scored just three tries this year - all by hookers John Smit and Chiliboy Ralepelle.)

By contrast, Graham Henry's task of picking his backs for the World Cup was made no easier by strong performances by Israel Dagg, Isaia Toeava and Hosea Gear. However Adam Thomson's hopes of making the starting XV on September 9 took a step backwards as his overeagerness cost his side a number of penalties.

Just how much can be read into this result is debatable as it would be overly harsh to judge New Zealand on the performance of a make-shift side.

New Zealand did most of the playing in the first quarter but it was the hosts who held a 12-0 lead after half-an-hour as their charged-up pack forced the All Blacks to infringe at the rucks and at scrum time.

Steyn moved the Boks further ahead with a neat drop-goal but it was the men in black who would cross the whitewash for the game's only try, courtesy of Richard Kahui, who muscled his way past three defenders after Gear had cut through the Boks' defensive curtain with a searing run.

South Africa led 15-5 at half time with Steyn's fifth penalty the only points of the second period.

Man of the match: The home side's cover defence saved their bacon on a number of occasions with Jaque Fourie coming to the rescue two or three times. But we'll go for Morné Steyn who not only scored all the hosts' points, but generally controlled the game.

Moment of the match: With the All Blacks trailing by ten points, Jimmy Cowan's disallowed try will be subject of debate for a long time to come. Dagg's final pass was certainly forward... and television match official Johann Meuwesen made sure referee George Clancy knew about it.

Villain of the match: It wasn't tiddlywinks but no one deserves a mention.

The scorers:

For South Africa:
Pens: Steyn 5
Drop: Steyn

For New Zealand:
Try: Kahui

South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Butch James.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Isaia Toeava, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Adam Thomson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (capt) 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Cory Jane.

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)