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Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Saturday, 25 July 2009 17:51 UK

South Africa 28-19 New Zealand

South Africa (14) 25
Tries: Pienaar, Fourie Pens: F Steyn (2), Pienaar (1), M Steyn (3)

New Zealand (3) 19
Tries: Smith Cons: Donald (1) Pens: Donald (4)

South Africa's John Smit and Jerome Kaino
South Africa opened their Tr-Nations campaign with a win over New Zealand

South Africa survived a second-half comeback from New Zealand to open their Tri-Nations campaign with a victory.

The Springboks dominated the opening half and had a healthy 14-3 lead thanks to Ruan Pienaar's try and penalty and two further kicks from Frans Steyn.

But New Zealand responded after the break with a try from Conrad Smith and three Stephen Donald penalties.

Jaque Fourie's late try sealed the win with Morne Steyn's three penalties also denying the All Blacks a bonus point

New Zealand opened their Tri-Nations campaign with a 22-16 victory over Australia last weekend while South Africa went into the game on the back of a 2-1 series victory over the British and Irish Lions.

And it was South Africa who impressed during the opening half but the hosts only had an 11-point lead to show for their dominance at the break.

The All Blacks struck first with an early penalty through Donald but South Africa's superiority in the loose soon started to tell and full-back Steyn levelled the score.


Pienaar took over the kicking duties to give South Africa the lead and soon after the outside-half went over in the corner from close range to increase the score.

Steyn extended the lead with a penalty just before the break but in truth South Africa's dominance in all areas should have been better reflected on the scoreboard.

Replacement Morne Steyn, on for Pienaar, sent over a massive penalty just after the break to make it 17-3 but centre Smith jinked his way over with half an hour to go to get the All Blacks back in the game.

Donald's conversion reduced the deficit to seven points as the All Blacks started to sense a change in momentum.

And the gap narrowed further when Donald sent over his second penalty of the game.

Morne Steyn and Donald then traded penalties before centre Fourie's late try settled the game for the Springboks.

Fourie's score came against the run of play but after New Zealand had fumbled the ball in midfield, South Africa pounced on the mistake and the Springbok centre eventually went over in the corner.

Donald's penalty with five minutes to go gave the All Blacks some hope but Morne Steyn's late penalty from half-way sealed the result while also denying New Zealand a losing bonus point.

Victorious captain John Smith knew the importance of victory and of getting their Tri-Nations campaign off to a winning start.

"It was vital to win this one," said Smit. "

"If you come out of a Test against the All Blacks unscathed you have not worked hard enough.

"We applied a lot of pressure and this victory was a step in the right direction although there is a lot more work to be done.

"We did the hard stuff up front and got the ball out wide at appropriate times."

Defeated skipper Richie McCaw blamed a lack of discipline as well as countless errors for his side's defeat.

"There were too many mistakes inside our own 22 and the Springboks capitalised on them," he said.

"They played very well at the right end of the field and we were just not smart enough."

South Africa: F. Steyn, Pietersen, Fourie, de Villiers, Habana, Pienaar, du Preez, Mtawarira, B. du Plessis, Smit, Botha, Smith, Spies, Ralepelle, J. du Plessis.
Replacements: Rossouw, Kankowski, Januarie, M. Steyn, Olivier.

New Zealand: Muliaina, Rokocoko, Smith, Nonu, Sivivatu, Donald, Leonard, Woodcock, Hore, Tialata, Thorn, Ross, Kaino, McCaw, So'oialo.
Replacements: Mealamu, Franks, Eaton, Read, Weepu, McAlister, Jane.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

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New Zealand 22-16 Australia
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One change for Springboks squad
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Date set for Boks armband hearing
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Smit defends Botha protest stance
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South Africa 9-28 Lions
04 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
Smit worried by Botha precedent
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SA's Burger handed eight-week ban
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union

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