All Blacks thrash Spring­boks by record 57-0

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

AUCK­LAND: The All Blacks pro­duced their best dis­play of the year to trounce South Africa by a record 57-0 to take a firm grip on the Rugby Cham­pi­onship in Auck­land on Satur­day.

The eight-try vic­tory eclipsed the pre­vi­ous best 57-15 vic­tory in Dur­ban last year.

It was only the fifth time in the 94-Test his­tory be­tween the fierce ri­vals that the Spring­boks have been kept score­less.

With the back­line stand­ing slightly deeper than they have in re­cent weeks, the All Blacks elim­i­nated many of the han­dling er­rors that had been plagu­ing them.

It was a per­for­mance that showed when the All Blacks click there is a huge gulf be­tween the first and third ranked sides two years out from the next World Cup.

The Spring­boks opened with a typ­i­cally phys­i­cal start in which they bossed the All Blacks for the first quar­ter hour, un­til in the space of four min­utes the New Zealan­ders turned the game with back-to-back tries by Rieko Ioane and Nehe Mil­ner Skud­der.

With for­wards run­ning like backs, the All Blacks added fur­ther tries by Scott Bar­rett and Brodie Re­tal­lick in the count­down to half-time to turn with a 31-0 lead.

Mil­ner-Skud­der, Ofa Tu’un­gafasi, Lima Sopoaga and Codie Tay­lor scored in the se­cond half.

The win kept the All Blacks un­beaten af­ter four rounds of the Rugby Cham­pi­onship and lifted them eight points clear of South Africa with only away matches against Ar­gentina and the Spring­boks re­main­ing.

De­spite the lop-sided score­line, the open­ing stanza be­longed to South Africa when Eben Etze­beth, Jean-Luc de Preez and Uzair Cassiem led a mus­cu­lar ap­proach.

They won penal­ties off the first two scrums, stole the All Blacks’ first line out and drove through holes close to the ruck.

But their dom­i­nance was hin­dered by a suc­ces­sion of han­dling er­rors and a chance to put points on the board via a penalty by the usu­ally re­li­able El­ton Jan­tjies fell short.

In­stead, it was the All Blacks who scored first from a Beau­den Bar­rett penalty, the first of eight suc­cess­ful shots at goal as the fly-half re­dis­cov­ered the kick­ing radar that aban­doned him last week against Ar­gentina.

Then came the tries as the All Blacks re­sponded with li­ne­out steals and scrum penal­ties of their own.

Aaron Smith took a quick penalty on half­way and chipped the ball towards the cor­ner with Ioane win­ning the race for the ball.

Mil­ner-Skud­der’s first try came from his in­ter­cept in New Zealand ter­ri­tory and he fin­ished off the move af­ter some classy in­ter­play with Beau­den Bar­rett to beat the cover de­fence.

As the All Blacks dug fur­ther into their bag of tricks, hooker Dane Coles leaped high to tap a Beau­den Bar­rett cross kick into the arms of re­place­ment flanker Scott Bar­rett who scored the third try.

Coles was on hand again to play the link man be­tween Ioane and Re­tal­lick.

The Spring­boks started the se­cond half strongly but once the ini­tial drive wore off the All Blacks re­turned to their tryscor­ing ways, bring­ing up the record with Tay­lor’s try from a li­ne­out drive on full-time. AFP

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