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All Blacks Arrogance Costs Them In Stunning Defeat To South Africa

All Blacks Arrogance Costs Them In Stunning Defeat To South Africa
By Gavin Cooney
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The propensity for probable Irish opponents in a World Cup quarter-final to find form continues unabated, as New Zealand and South Africa served up a classic Rugby Championship clash in Wellington.

Both of these sides have been drawn in Pool B of the World Cup in Japan, and therefore one of them will more than likely face Ireland if all goes to plan for us in Pool A.

South Africa scored 36 points and five tries their record score against the All Blacks in New Zealand. In spite of it all, they should have lost: New Zealand trailed by two points as they sat on the 'Boks try line, yet continued to try and force a try and refused to toss the ball backward and kick a straightforward drop-goal. Damian McKenzie loitered in the pocket, but New Zealand refused to win the game.

New Zealand raced into a 12-0 lead in characteristically ominous fashion, but South Africa hauled their way back into the game: they ran in three straight tries to lead by 21-12 just past the half-hour mark. The champions got a try back before the break, but a Pollard penalty for the 'Boks gave them a 24-17 lead at half-time.

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Remarkably, it was the 'Boks who started the best in the second half, Cheslin Kolbe intercepting Linert-Browne's errant pass to cross minutes into the second period. Rieko Ioane replied for the ABs ten minutes later, only for South Africa to reply with their fifth try of the night just before the hour mark.

At that point, the 'Boks declared. New Zealand spent the final quarter of the game battering the South Africa line, and eventually crossed with Codie Taylor and, with five minutes remaining, Ardie Savea. Incredibly, Beauden Barrett then pinged the conversion off the post, to leave the champions two points behind with five minutes to go.

New Zealand continued to hammer at the line, but even with the benefit of some curious refereeing calls, they didn't score again. Curiously, the All Blacks refused to kick a drop-goal in spite of their being in an ideal position to do so.

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Here's the reaction as the 'Boks stole a famous 36-34 win.

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