The follow match highlights are courtesy of World Rugby.
New Zealand took a giant step towards reaching the Rugby World Cup’s quarter-finals when they beat South Africa 23-13 in their tournament opener in Yokohama on Saturday.
There was plenty of hype around this fixture and that was justified as the teams went at each other hammer and tongs from the kick off. The match was characterised by great physicality from both teams but New Zealand’s attacking play was of a superior quality especially in the first half and that helped them to victory in the end.
The world champions eventually outscored their opponents by two tries to one with George Bridge and Scott Barrett dotting down in that first half and their other points came via two penalties and two conversions from Richie Mo’unga as well as a penalty from Beauden Barrett.
For South Africa, who showed considerable improvement in the second half, Pieter-Steph du Toit crossed the whitewash and Handré Pollard added a conversion, a penalty and a drop goal.
The opening exchanges were evenly contested although the Springboks opened the scoring as early as the second minute when Pollard landed a long range penalty.
The next 15 minutes was a topsy-turvy affair but that period of play was littered with errors from both sides.
South Africa had a chance to extend their lead in the 19th minute when Pollard took a straightforward shot at goal but his effort struck an upright and the All Blacks scrambled to get the ball ball into touch.
The All Blacks made the Boks pay for that miss as shortly afterwards Mo’unga slotted a penalty to draw his side level and they increased their lead in the 24th minute when Bridge crossed for the opening try.
This, after Sevu Reece did brilliantly when he launched a counter-attack from just outside his 22 and Ardie Savea also did well in the build-up with a strong carry before the ball was shifted wide to Bridge, who rounded off despite a desperate tackle from Willie le Roux.
Soon after that, Anon Lienert-Brown tore South Africa’s defence to shreds with a mazy run in which he beat four defenders and he did well to draw in the last defender inside the Boks’ 22 before offloading to Scott Barrett, who had an easy run-in under the posts.
The closing stages off the half saw the Springboks launching several attacks inside New Zealand’s half but that reaped no reward and the teams changed sides with the All Blacks holding a 17-3 lead at half-time.
The Boks were fastest out of the blocks after the restart and were put on the front-foot courtesy of a brilliant attacking run from Cheslin Kolbe. The diminutive wing made a superb break down the right-hand touchline and only a fine cover tackle from Mo’unga prevented him from scoring a try in the corner.
Despite regathering possession, New Zealand did not kick the ball into touch but opted to run it instead and that decision came back to haunt them as the Boks soon won a turnover. And after setting up some phases, Du Toit broke through the middle of a ruck inside the All Blacks’ 22 before crossing for an easy try next to the posts.
Pollard added the extras which meant the Boks were back in the game as the All Blacks were now leading by just seven points. The Boks continued to dominate and after taking the ball through several phases close to the All Blacks’ 10-metre line, the ball came out to Pollard, who narrowed the gap to four points with a well-taken drop goal.
Despite being under the cosh, the world champions did not panic and restored their seven-point lead in the 61st minute when Mo’unga succeeded with another penalty after the Boks’ forwards were blown up for illegal scrummaging.
Ten minutes later, South Africa’s back-line strayed offside on defence and Barrett added his three-pointer off the kicking tee which gave his side a 23-13 lead with just under 10 minutes left on the clock.
The closing stages was a frantic affair as the Boks tried to close the gap and in the 76th minute Kolbe, who was brilliant throughout, set off on another superb attacking run but Savea halted his progress close to the All Blacks’ try-line before winning a crucial turnover.
Although the Boks continued to attack, they would not score further points as the All Blacks’ defence held firm in the game’s dying moments which secured them an important win.
RWC Result : Pool B –
NEW ZEALAND 🇳🇿 2️⃣3️⃣ – 1️⃣3️⃣ 🇿🇦 SOUTH AFRICA
NEW ZEALAND – 23
Tries: George Bridge (23′), Scott Barrett (27′)
Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (24′,27′)
Penalties: Richie Mo’unga (22′,66′), Beauden Barrett (71′)
SOUTH AFRICA – 13
Tries: Pieter-Steph du Toit (48′)
Conversions: Handre Pollard (49′)
Penalties: Handre Pollard (2′)
Drop Goals: Handre Pollard (58′)
Follow us at ➡️ https://www.facebook.com/RedefinedRugby/
RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED
NZL (on 89.40 points) -vs- RSA (on 87.34 points) in a RWC match
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|NZL win by 1-15 points||1.588||90.99||85.75||No|
|If NZL win by more than 15||2.382||91.78||84.96||No|
|If result is a draw||0.412||88.99||87.75||No|
|If RSA win by 1-15 points||2.412||86.99||89.75||Yes|
|If RSA win by more than 15||3.618||85.78||90.96||Yes|
1 Joe Moody, 2 Dane Coles, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Sam Whitelock, 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 8 Kieran Read (capt.), 9 Aaron Smith, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 11 George Bridge, 12 Ryan Crotty, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 14 Sevu Reece, 15 Beauden Barrett
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tu’ipulotu, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Ben Smith
1 Steven Kitshoff, 2 Malcolm Marx, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (capt.), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 9 Faf de Klerk, 10 Handré Pollard, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 12 Damian de Allende, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 15 Willie le Roux
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel
Date: Saturday, September 21
Kick-Off: 18:45 local (02:45 Pacific, 05:45 Eastern, 06:45 Rio de la Plata)
Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistants: Romain Poite (France) & Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)
Broadcasts: ESPN 3 (Latin/South America), NBC (USA), TSN 1/3 (Canada)