Falcons fail to stick to script as Chiefs show who is the boss
South Africa restored pride but could not deny New Zealand a sixth successive win in the Rugby Championship.
Last month, the All Blacks hammered their opponents 57-0, but this time out, just one point separated the sides in Cape Town as New Zealand held on to win 25-24.
After an early penalty for both sides, the All Blacks responded to fierce South Africa pressure by going 8-3 ahead through Ryan Crotty’s try.
South Africa pulled back to 15-15, with tries from Ross Cronje and Jean-Luc du Preez sandwiching one from Rieko Ioane.
Damian McKenzie then crossed again for New Zealand, who scored an ultimately decisive penalty from Lima Sopoaga after Damian de Allende was shown a red card for elbowing the All Blacks fly-half.
But the Springboks made it a nail-biting finish with a try from the excellent Malcolm Marx, converted by Elton Jantjies. IT is a measure of Newcastle’s progress that director of rugby Dean Richards was not overjoyed with his team’s performance as they went down to a bonus-point defeat at Exeter Chiefs.
Exeter returned to winning ways to beat the high-flying Falcons 34-24 at Sandy Park.
Nic White, Lachie Turner and Sam Simmonds scored Exeter’s tries. There was also a penalty try award with Gareth Steenson converting all three and adding two penalties.
Will Welch, Alex Tait, Vereniki Goneva and Juan Pablo Socino scored tries for Newcastle, with Toby Flood adding two conversions.
While Richards doesn’t see much relevance in the fact Exeter took his side’s place at the top of the Premiership table, he was more interested by the manner of defeat.
“We are a bit frustrated by our inaccuracies as it was an odd sort of a game. We didn’t stick to script and went off-piste,” he said.
“We practise repeatedly how to defend a rolling maul but they scored easily from one with DTH (van der Merwe) picking up a yellow card.
“There was a lack of accuracy, which highlighted where we are at present. We are improving but today it was a case of three steps forward and one back.” Don Armand of Exeter Chiefs (centre) is
Newcastle dominated the opening five minutes and should have taken the lead but their centre, Socino, lost the ball in the tackle as he drove for the line from a 5m scrum.
The visitors were made to pay for their wastefulness as White sniped over from close range.
Steenson converted before kicking a simple penalty to give his side a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Chiefs suffered a blow when Nowell left the field with a cut but some deft footwork from White skilfully created an easy run-in for Turner, who had only just switched to the wing in Nowell’s absence.
After 31 minutes, Falcons got on the score sheet when Welch forced his way over from a driving line-out but Sonatane
Alex Tait is tackled by Exeter’s Ian Whitten(L) and Nic White