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Kiwis prove too strong for Springboks
Greg Stutchbury in Melbourne | November 09, 2003 05:58 IST
Two moments of magic by New Zealand flyhalf Carlos Spencer helped the All Blacks register their first World Cup win over traditional rivals South Africa on Saturday with a 29-9 quarterfinal victory.
After kicking an early penalty, centre Leon MacDonald scored in the 16th minute following a searing break from Spencer, who cut through the South African defence at full pace.
Hooker Keven Mealamu bullocked his way through five tackles for the All Blacks' second try midway through the second half and Joe Rokocoko sealed victory with his 16th try of the year after Spencer flicked the ball to the big left-winger between his legs.
New Zealand had lost the 1995 final to South Africa and were beaten again by the Springboks in the 1999 third-place playoff.
South Africa were restricted to three penalties by flyhalf Derick Hougaard.
The All Blacks were always in control of the game as they continually breached the vaunted Springbok defence only to blow certain try-scoring opportunities by forcing the pass or failing to spot the free runner.
While the South Africans had promised to take on the All Blacks up front, the New Zealanders surprisingly matched the larger Springbok pack at the scrum and were also controlled in their lineout play, so often a weakness in the past.
The defence of All Blacks flanker Richie McCaw and number eight Jerry Collins, who entered the game with a rib cartilage injury, was also outstanding.
New Zealand signalled their intentions from the kickoff when Spencer changed direction and kicked away from his forwards.
MacDonald opened the scoring in the 12th minute after the All Blacks stormed down the field through a series of pick and goes at the ruck.
Hougaard replied immediately afterwards when Mealamu was penalised for holding on to the ball at the kickoff, before Spencer broke in the midfield and ran 60 metres to feed MacDonald, who converted to give the All Blacks a 10-3 lead after 17 minutes.
The All Blacks spent the next 20 minutes camped in the Springbok half, but were only able to add another MacDonald penalty in the 34th minute.
The Springboks then managed to hold on to possession for a series of phases and finished the half with Hougaard adding his second penalty to reduce the gap to 13-6 at the break.
Aaron Mauger added a drop goal when the All Blacks were hot on attack in the 45th minute to restore the ten-point gap, before Hougaard slotted his third penalty six minutes later.
Mealamu then capped his impressive day when he broke free from a ruck and charged 20 metres for a try in the 58th minute.
MacDonald added his third penalty 10 minutes later before Rokocoko capped the scoring after superb buildup work again from both backs and forwards.