The All Blacks again ran the world champion Springboks into submission to win the second Tri-nations rugby Test 31-17 with another four-try bonus point performance.
A week ago in Auckland in pristine conditions, the All Blacks won 32-12 but were just as dominant in Saturday’s blustery, wet conditions in Wellington with their high-paced, accurate, running rugby.
The margin could have been higher had the usually reliable Dan Carter not had an off-night with the boot, missing three conversions and three penalties before he was replaced by Piri Weepu as kicker.
In two Tests against the reigning World and Tri-Nations champions the All Blacks have scored eight tries and conceded only two to firmly lay to rest their nightmare of last year’s 0-3 whitewash by the Springboks.
South Africa were again punished for ill-discipline. A week after Bakkies Botha was yellow-carded, his replacement Danie Rossouw was sent from the field in the fourth minute and the All Blacks snared two tries before he reappeared.
But it was the All Blacks ability to recycle the ball and counter-attack, even when deep on defence that the Springboks found hardest to handle.
After the first Test hammering, South African captain John Smit repeatedly said his side had faith in their traditional forward power game and did not need to match the All Blacks free-flow style.
But for the second week they found their forwards could not dominate the All Blacks eight and their kicking game only served to feed possession to an attacking machine, although they tried to rectify this in the second half.
Although Victor Matfield regained his lineout dominance, the Springboks again struggled in the scrums while All Blacks loose forwards Richie McCaw and Kieran Read controlled broken play.
The All Blacks opening try followed Carter’s first missed penalty. Read gathered in the Springboks restart to ignite a counter-attack which resulted in Ma’a Nonu scoring in the right-hand corner.
Play had no sooner restarted when Weepu, who repeatedly found inviting holes around the Springboks ruck, cut through a gap deep in All Blacks territory to send Mils Muliaina on a 40 metre run to the line.
Rossouw returned to the field to find the Springboks down 10 points and already feeling the impact of the All Blacks incessant running game.
Carter’s one successful penalty in the first half stretched the All Blacks lead to 13-0 before Rossouw made partial amends for his indiscretion, charging from deep behind a ruck to crash over the line.
Morne Steyn added the extra points and the Springboks had reduced the deficit to 7-13 at half-time.
It was evident from the resumption of play the Springboks had accepted that running rugby had advantages as they showed a willingness to spin the ball.
They took play up to the All Blacks line and from a penalty Steyn cut the gap to 10-13.
This drew an immediate response with Rene Ranger, in his first Test start, scoring in the corner.
After Carter missed the conversion Weepu took over the kicking and landed a 40 metre penalty to put the All Blacks up 21-10 with 10 minutes gone in the second half.
Israel Dagg in his first touch of the ball after coming on as a replacement beat four to score while Carter resumed the kicking duties to land the conversion and another penalty.
With time running out Schalk Burger scored the Springboks second try with Steyn landing the conversion.