Rugby Rugby

All Blacks romp over South Africa

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The All Blacks carved up an under-strength Springbok side to open their Tri-Nations account with an emphatic 40-7 victory at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.

They scored six tries to one in the runaway win as they exposed the inexperience of the South African line-up.

A week after being humbled 39-20 by Australia, the Springboks slumped even further as they found themselves comprehensively outplayed in the forwards and could not cope with the speed and width of the All Black backs.

The New Zealanders stepped up several levels with a far more controlled performance from the decidedly rusty shake-down against Fiji last week.

Coach Graham Henry rated the performance at 70 percent and saw the biggest improvement in the work of the forwards.

“The lineout was very fluent tonight and obviously the boys got scrum dominance as the game went on and we played well at the breakdown. They were the areas last week where we were not as effective as we should have been.”

McCaw said he could feel a greater intensity in the All Blacks but they could not afford to get carried away by the 33-point winning margin.

“It was not a complete performance. We’ve still got to make sure we don’t think we are good enough yet because at times we got things wrong and turned the ball over.”

With 21 key players left at home because of injury, the Springboks were always going to struggle, particularly in the forwards where the more experienced All Blacks feasted on a regular supply of turnover ball.

Springboks captain John Smit and backrower Danie Rossouw worked tirelessly to provide some opposition in the forwards but could not contain the All Blacks loose pairing of Richie McCaw and Adam Thomson.

With conditions ripe for running rugby, the All Blacks then focused on moving the ball wide where wings Cory Jane and Zac Guildford scored two tries each, and prop Wyatt Crockett also scored his try out towards the touchline.

Smit said his side was disappointed with their performance, especially being on the back foot so early in the game and never being in a position to recover.

“We’ll try to pull as many positives as we can out of it. But at the end of the day it’s disappointing,” he said.

With only four of the Springboks starting 15 having more than seven Test caps the inexperience showed as the All Blacks raced to an 18-7 lead by halftime, and added another 22 unanswered points in the second half.

In the process, McCaw overtook Smit as the most successful Test captain with his 52nd victory from 59 Tests.

It was also a record-breaking outing for All Blacks pivot Dan Carter, who suffered an off-night with the boot missing four shots at goal but still contributed 10 points to become the top all-time points scorer in Test rugby with 1204, nine clear of England’s Jonny Wilkinson.

Carter opened the scoring with an early penalty and the All Blacks stamped their mark on the game soon after with two quick tries.

Crockett bagged the first when the Springboks ran out of defenders as the All Blacks over-stretched them by repeatedly moving the ball from one side of the field to the other.

From the restart, Ali Williams claimed the ball uncontested, it was chipped over the Springbok backs where the All Blacks were able to regather and Guildford scampered 40 metres to score.

South Africa enjoyed a brief period in control midway through the half and scored their sole try when Morne Steyn turned down a shot at goal from 38 metres and kicked for the corner.

They won the lineout and a series of forward drives eventually broke the All Black defence with Smit crashing over near the posts for Steyn to convert.

But they had little time to celebrate as the All Blacks struck back with Jane breaking free down the right wing and stepping around Steyn to score in the corner.

South Africa made an aggressive start to the second half but they no sooner looked threatening than they turned the ball over and promptly found themselves a further seven points down.

Carter exposed the limited defence on a long run which ended with Ma’a Nonu held up over the line in the left corner. From the resulting scrum Jane was able to stroll across the line unopposed on the right wing.

Guildford scored his second try when Sonny Bill Williams came on as a midfield replacement and created a hole with one of his trade-mark offloads.

The All Blacks rounded off their scoring with a planned backline move which put replacement Colin Slade over for a try.

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