New Zealand survive South Africa scare as Richie McCaw comes to the rescue – The Guardian

Richie McCaw scored a second-half try to help the All Blacks maintain their five-year unbeaten record in New Zealand with a tense 14-10 victory over a combative Springboks side in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

The New Zealand captain, McCaw, was the beneficiary of a pin-point cross-kick from Aaron Cruden that was hauled in by the No8 Kieran Read who fed his skipper who dived over in the corner.

Cruden slotted two penalties for the home side while Beauden Barrett added another after he replaced Cruden late in the second half to give the home side 16 points at the top of the Rugby Championship table. South Africa are on 10.

The rookie South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard repaid the faith shown in him by his coach, Heyneke Meyer, by setting up Cornal Hendricks’ first-half try with a brilliant inside pass, converting and slotting in a long-range drop goal.

The All Blacks have been unbeaten in New Zealand for five years – a run of 36 successive tests – last losing at home to South Africa in Hamilton on 12 September 2009.

The hosts dominated the first half, playing all the rugby deep inside Springboks’ territory only to be stymied by a brilliant defensive effort, especially on the tryline.

Such was the territorial dominance the All Blacks enjoyed in the first half that in the first 20 minutes of the game they had spent almost eight inside the Springboks’ 22-metre area.

At the same time of the match, the Springboks had spent around 50 seconds in the All Blacks’ 22-metre area, during which they scored a brilliant try via Hendricks, who came off the right wing and took the inside pass from Pollard.

Despite dominating the territory and possession, the home side’s only reward was two penalties from Cruden in the first half, though he missed a third from long range after the half-time hooter had sounded.

McCaw then scored in the corner after a sustained buildup that culminated in Cruden producing a fine cross-kick to Read, who took the ball and waited for McCaw to pop up outside him and dive over.

Pollard slotted a long-range drop goal in the 56th minute but missed a 50m penalty seven minutes later after the All Blacks were again penalised at the breakdown.

South Africa then placed the All Blacks under immense pressure in the final 10 minutes but the home side managed to hold on to keep their record alive.

New Zealand survive South Africa scare as Richie McCaw comes to the rescue – The Guardian

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