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Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 16:01 UK

South Africa 0-19 New Zealand

South Africa: (0) 0

New Zealand: (5) 19
Tries: Smith, Carter, Mealamu
Cons: Carter (2)

Conrad Smith
Smith's try was the only score for more than 60 minutes at Newlands

New Zealand edged a close encounter with world champions South Africa in Cape Town to extend their lead at the top of the Tri-Nations table.

All Blacks centre Conrad Smith scored early in the first half when he won the race to dive on a Richie McCaw grubber kick over the Springbok line.

Kiwi fly-half Dan Carter missed four kicks in the first period and the score remained 5-0 until the last quarter.

But Carter scored a try and replacement hooker Keven Mealamu added a third.

We're still in the hunt and today was certainly a step in the right direction

All Blacks boss Graham Henry

Smith beat Butch James to the touchdown from McCaw's left-footed kick-through on seven minutes but for the remainder of the half the Springboks looked threatening.

Centres Jean de Villiers and Adrian Jacobs, and sniping scrum-half Fourie du Preez made a succession of dangerous probes but they were unable to break down the dogged Kiwi defence.

Flying wing Bryan Habana also danced over on the left just before half time but his foot was ruled in touch.


Springbok full-back Percy Montgomery, playing in his 100th Test match, missed two penalties after the break before All Blacks replacement John Afoa went close, only to be bundled into touch by JP Pietersen and Montgomery.

Carter missed a drop-goal and a penalty as the second half wore on but he effectively sealed the win with a sharp try on 66 minutes before De Villiers threw a gift of a pass for Mealamu to flop over at the death for the All Blacks' third try.

New Zealand, with three wins from five games, now lead Australia by five points in the Tri-Nations table with South Africa a further four points adrift.

We've got two big weeks in front of us and want to go out and make the nation proud

Springbok skipper Victor Matfield

The Springboks play Australia in Durban next weekend and again in Johannesburg on 30 August, before the All Blacks face Australia in the last match of the tournament in Brisbane on 13 September.

"We've still got a small chance of winning the competition," said Boks skipper Victor Matfield.

"We've got two big weeks in front of us and want to go out and make the nation proud. All we can do is focus on the things we've got control over - and that's the two games in front of us."

All Blacks boss Graham Henry said he was proud of "the tremendous courage" shown by his men.

"They showed good fitness levels at the end and tackled well throughout the game," he said. "We're still in the hunt and today was certainly a step in the right direction."

South Africa: Montgomery; Pietersen, Jacobs, de Villiers, Habana; James, du Preez; Mtawarira, du Plessis, van der Linde, Bekker, Matfield, Burger, Smith, Spies.
Replacements: Strauss, Mujati, Rossouw, Watson, Januarie, Steyn, Jantjes.

New Zealand: Muliaina; Kahui, Smith, Nonu, Sivivatu; Carter, Cowan; Woodcock, Hore, Somerville, Thorn, Williams, Kaino, McCaw, So'oialo.
Replacements: Mealamu, Afoa, Boric, Thomson, Weepu, Donald, Toeava.

Referee: Matt Goddard (Australia)

see also
Montgomery set to win 100th cap
12 Aug 08 |  Rugby Union
Springboks thump sorry Argentina
09 Aug 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 39-10 Australia
02 Aug 08 |  Rugby Union
Australia 34-19 New Zealand
26 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Australia 16-9 South Africa
19 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 28-30 South Africa
12 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 19-8 South Africa
05 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union

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