Find out what happened in the huge match that kicked things off in Pool B – All Blacks v Springboks
Played – 99
New Zealand wins – 59
South Africa wins – 36
Draws – 4
Did You Know?
While half of New Zealand’s starting pack in Yokohama – Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read – also started the RWC 2015 semi-final against South Africa, only one back, Aaron Smith, remained for this fixture.
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In a nutshell
Fast, physical and frenetic – this was expected to be a memorable World Cup match and so it proved. There were huge tackles to put a full stop on attacks as well as footwork that saw players weaving their way through defenders.
South Africa started at full pelt in front of the crowd of 63,649 in Yokohama, powering into contact and disrupting New Zealand’s flow with uncompromising hits in defence. The All Blacks – not helped by some poor passes and questionable decision-making – barely escaped their half for the first quarter.
However, the All Blacks then did what they are wont to do and counter-attacked with speed and precision to score two quick tries, through George Bridge and Scott Barrett, to lead 17-3 at the break.
Watch George Bridge’s opening try here…
Both sides brought their best in the second half, launching attacks from their own halves and even behind their own line in the case of New Zealand.
Pieter-Steph Du Toit spotted a huge gap behind a ruck to burst through to score and the Springboks threatened through Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe.
But a penalty here or turnover there allowed the All Blacks to launch attacks of their own. And a couple of successful kicks at goal in that second period meant the defending champions not only held on for the win but denied the Boks a losing bonus point.
They finished it all off by bowing to fans on all sides of the stadium!
Special mention to South Africa wing Cheslin Kolbe, who thrilled spectators with his weaving runs – whether through midfield or out on the wing – and made nearly twice as many metres as any other player with 118. But for a Richie Mo’unga tackle Kolbe would have a second-half try to his name.
It was Beauden Barrett, with his ability to counter-attack from first receiver and full-back, who proved decisive for the All Blacks though. He made 17 carries – more than any other player. He played a part in both first-half tries – one of them for his brother – and helped get his team out of trouble when the Boks piled on the pressure in the second half.
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New Zealand full-back Beauden Barrett: “We got to throw the ball around a bit, sometimes probably too much because it was a bit breezy out there. There was some expansive rugby and that’s why people come and watch footy. If we can keep doing that all tournament, that’s what we’re here for.”
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi: “They handled our kicking game really well and were ready for everything we threw at them. We didn’t execute when we had opportunities and they’re very good off turnovers. They really played well and I couldn’t fault them in any way.”
New Zealand: Beauden Barrett; Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty (Sonny Bill Williams 52), George Bridge; Richie Mo’unga (Ben Smith 67), Aaron Smith (TJ Perenara 62); Joe Moody (Ofa Tuungafasi 52), Dane Coles (Codie Taylor ht), Nepo Laulala (Angus Ta’avao 52), Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett (Shannon Frizell 76), Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (Patrick Tuipulotu ht), Kieran Read (captain).
Tries: Bridge 24, S Barrett 27. Cons: Mo’unga 2. Pens: Mo’unga 2, B Barrett.
South Africa: Willie Le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am (Jesse Kriel 57), Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf De Klerk (Herschel Jantjies 72); Steven Kitshoff (Tendai Mtawarira 67), Malcolm Marx (Mbongeni Mbonambi 62), Frans Malherbe (Trevor Nyakane 55), Eben Etzebeth (RG Snyman 70), Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain, Francois Louw 52), Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.
Try: Du Toit 48. Con: Pollard. Pen: Pollard. DG: Pollard.