All Blacks strike early to beat Springboks 35-20 in Auckland

All Blacks strike early to beat Springboks 35-20 in Auckland
New Zealand's Shannon Frizell in action
New Zealand's Shannon Frizell in action
New Zealand rode another blistering start to a 35-20 victory over South Africa at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday, making a big statement in a World Cup year and placing one hand on the Rugby Championship trophy.

Playing a high-octane brand of attacking rugby married with immense physicality, the All Blacks scored early tries through Aaron Smith and Shannon Frizell before late scores from Will Jordan and Richie Mo'unga put a seal on the victory.

The world champions, starved of the ball and heavily penalised, looked shellshocked by the early onslaught but recovered to score second-half tries through Malcolm Marx, Cheslin Kolbe and Kwagga Smith.

The victory made it two wins out of two in the truncated championship for the All Blacks after last week's 41-12 win over Argentina that was also built on an early try blitz.

"We have a lot of respect for South Africa and to put that scoreline on them… they turned it into a real arm-wrestle but I love the way we started, hung in there and then finished strong in the last quarter," New Zealand coach Ian Foster told Sky Sports.

"It’s a great start for us this year, but it is just that (a start). We got a bit fidgety in the third quarter and went into our shell and they got back into it.

"But we then started to hold the ball well and make them make tackles, that tested their discipline."

The All Blacks shot out of the blocks and were rewarded in fifth minute when winger Jordan glided through the midfield and drew the last defender before releasing Smith to score.

Flyhalf Mo'unga pushed the lead out to 10-0 with a penalty and the home side were soon over again with Jordan playing a key role as flanker Frizell finished off a sublime move featuring a whirlwind of offloads.

The Springboks were unable to get their hands on the ball in the opening quarter and it was not until the 26th minute that they got over the New Zealand line, only for the TMO to decide winger Kolbe had not grounded the ball.


They finally got on the board through a Faf de Klerk penalty in the 36th minute but Mo'unga replied quickly and the All Blacks held out a fierce assault on their try line to go into the break 20-3 up.

The game reverted to the sort of tight contest that had been expected in the second half but there was a worrying moment for the Springboks early on when scrumhalf De Klerk went down clutching his knee and was replaced.

South Africa's "bomb squad" bench forwards entered the fray and had an immediate impact when the Springbok pack executed a rolling maul to send replacement hooker Marx over for a converted try and cut the deficit to 20-10.

Mo'unga kicked his third penalty from near the halfway line but the Springboks were in the ascendancy and superb interpassing sent Kolbe over in the corner to cut the lead to 23-15.

That was as close as it got as Jordan got his reward for a superb display by latching onto a Beauden Barrett crosskick and Mo'unga, who kicked a total of 15 points from the tee, dived over the line for the fourth try.

There was still time for flanker Smith to bulldoze his way through the All Blacks defence for a fine individual try but the home fans were already celebrating the victory in the packed stands.

"There are positives we can take from this game, but also a lot of work-ons, things we need to improve," Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am said.

Check out the match stats with Flashscore.


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