New Zealand clinch Tri-Nations with last-gasp victory

The All Blacks lifted the Tri-Nations trophy after coming from behind to beat the Springboks by 29-22.

It was a classic Test Match, ferociously competitive, abrasive and physical, and it looked as though South Africa had done enough to record their first victory of their campaign.

But two late tries in the last five minutes, firstly by Richie McCaw to level the scores at 22-22 and then by Israel Dagg in the final play, broke South African hearts and confirmed the All Blacks as champions.

The Boks seemed to have found their structure again: several huge hits to make you wince, running the ball when it’s on, and relying a deadly marksman in Morne Steyn to kick the points from almost anywhere.

It was the second match in a row where the All Blacks have looked beatable, but the fact that they still maintained their unbeaten record is ominous. Nobody can argue that they don’t deserve the Tri-Nations title, and they have once again raised the bar to which the rest of the world must aspire.

Richie McCawRichie McCaw is looking more imposing and more influential than ever before, even against the Bok back row of Juan Smith, Schalk Burger and Pierre Spies who were all hugely effective at the breakdown. Against lesser opposition, he could run riot and almost with the game single-handedly – and that will be a real concern for northern hemisphere sides this Autumn.

The Tri-Nations rumbles on whilst the rugby world wonders whether New Zealand can keep up this form all the way to the Rugby World Cup next year.

3 thoughts on “New Zealand clinch Tri-Nations with last-gasp victory

  1. Fantastic match, fitting for the first rugby game at Soccer City and for Smit’s 100th game. It was the most intense of the year and the Boks put on a punishing display of defence. It was good to see them come back to form even if the ABs robbed them in the last couple of minutes (yes the pass was well forward!!).

    As an AB fan though I am hugely impressed that they showed the ability to hang in there and play 80 minutes of rugby. Can ‘t remember seeing a more amazing finale to a game – at least not in recent memory. Then again an Aussie fan would be quick to remind me of John Eale’s penalty kick in the 83rd or so minute all those years ago ;-). Heart goes out to Smit though – but hey he’s already got 2 RWC wins under his belt so I sure his pride will survive!

    If these 2 teams can bring the same intensity to next years RWC it should be a fantastic event.

  2. I’d agree with you there – the intensity was incredible, and it was proper Test Rugby. The atmosphere in Soweto seemed to be pretty special as well.

    Great game to watch, and can’t help feeling sorry for the Boks. I thought they had done enough to win it.

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