29 Jul 2015

McCaw magic seals Ellis Park win

6:21 am on 29 July 2015

The All Blacks captain Richie McCaw grabbed a late winning try as New Zealand edged South Africa 27-20 in a gripping test match at Ellis Park this morning.

Richie McCaw and Liam Messam perform the Haka for the All Blacks.

Richie McCaw and Liam Messam perform the Haka for the All Blacks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The home side led for most of the match but just as in their defeat by Australia in their Rugby Championship opener last week they could not close out the game out and they now can't win the title.

Wing Ben Smith and hooker Dane Coles also scored tries for the visitors, with debutant first-five Lima Sopoaga kicking three conversions and two penalties.

Fullback Willie le Roux and young centre Jesse Kriel claimed tries for the Springboks, with first-five Handre Pollard adding two conversions and a couple of penalties.

The decision to play two openside flankers in Heinrich Brussouw, returning to the team for the first time in four years, and Francois Louw, paid dividends as South Africa dominated the breakdown, particularly in the first half.

They had the lion's share of possession too, but the world champion All Blacks showed their spirit and character to hang in and go to the halftime break at 10-10.

Trailing to an early Sopoaga penalty, the Springboks grabbed the first try after intense pressure in the visitors' half.

Kieran Read lost the ball after a steal on the ground and Le Roux burst through a gap to score after being set free by Kriel.

Pollard extended the lead, before the All Blacks struck back on the stroke of halftime.

A typically incisive breakaway was too quick for the retreating South African defenders as Ben Smith found space out wide and finished under the posts.

The home side were back in front as youngsters Pollard and Kriel combined, the latter scything past three All Black defenders to score and cap an excellent performance.

But the All Blacks hit back again just minutes later, Coles timing his run and line to perfection finding a gap in the hosts defence off a short ball from replacement midfielder Malakai Fekitoa and showing admirable pace to touch under the posts.

A Pollard penalty edged the home team ahead and they missed two more chances to score having camped on the All Black line.

They were made to pay when New Zealand opted for a line-out rather than an easy penalty to level the scores and McCaw barged over with an excellent move from the set-piece in probably his last test match in South Africa.

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