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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 November, 2003, 18:51 GMT
New Zealand overpower Boks
MATCH SUMMARY
All Black fly-half Carlos Spencer
New Zealand 29
Tries: MacDonald, Mealamu, Rokocoko
Cons: MacDonald
Pens: MacDonald (3)
Drops: Mauger
South Africa 9
Pens: Hougaard (3)
New Zealand 29-9 South Africa

New Zealand outmuscled South Africa with a dominant display to book their semi-final berth in Melbourne.

The All Blacks crossed for three tries from Leon MacDonald, Keven Mealamu and Joe Rokocoko as they snuffed out any potential danger from the improving Springboks.

South Africa struggled for possession in the first half to trail 13-6 at the break, but despite a brighter second period they were undone by a powerful Kiwi pack.

And, though the vaunted Kiwi backs were not at their scintillating best, there were several moments of individual brilliance, particularly from fly-half Carlos Spencer.

New Zealand's seventh straight win over their southern hemisphere rivals kept them on track for a meeting with Australia, who beat Scotland 33-16 in Brisbane.

The opening exchanges were tension-filled and error-strewn but the pattern of play soon settled into one of New Zealand domination.

It was a huge game - I am very proud of them
All Blacks captain Reuben Thorne

The All Blacks had the first chance to notch up points but MacDonald scuffed his penalty from wide right.

Shortly after, Kiwi scrum-half Justin Marshall escaped on a sharp break but failed to offload to a flying Doug Howlett on his shoulder.

The Kiwis were beginning to stretch their muscles as the ball edged wider and wider, but they opened the scoring with a simple penalty under the posts from MacDonald.

South Africa hit back instantaneously, with three points from Derick Hougaard.

But New Zealand's skill behind the scrum was ignited on 17 minutes when Spencer dummied his way through from just outside his 22, and stepped on the gas before timing his scoring pass to MacDonald to perfection.

We did make a lot of mistakes, but you have to look at the pressure they put on us and the massive hits
Springbok captain Corne Krige

The Kiwi pressure was building but the mercurial Spencer missed two drop-goal attempts in quick succession.

South Africa were still unable to string together any phases as the All Blacks edged further away with another MacDonald penalty on 33 minutes.

The Springboks did manage to get their hands on some ball inside the last five minutes of the half and went close to a try before Hougaard slotted a morale-boosting penalty.

Audacious

But South Africa began the second half in a much brighter mood with Jorrie Muller making a promising break that may have influenced the outcome had it resulted in a score.

The All Blacks quickly punished the wasted opportunity with a drop-goal from Aaron Mauger.

But Hougaard kept the resurgent South Africans in touch with another penalty.

All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu
Mealamu scored New Zealand's second try

The Springboks, though, were hanging on and found themselves further adrift when All Black hooker Mealamu burst through for a powerful solo try on 57 minutes.

The fight was still there from South Africa but the result was slipping away.

And New Zealand removed any doubt with another MacDonald penalty and a entertaining third try from left-wing Rokocoko after an audacious pass through his legs from Spencer.


New Zealand: M Muliaina, D Howlett, L MacDonald, A Mauger, J Rokocoko; C Spencer, J Marshall; D Hewett, K Mealamu, G Somerville; A Williams, C Jack; R Thorne (capt), R McCaw, J Collins.
Replacements: M Hammett, K Meeuws, B Thorn, M Holah, S Devine, D Carter, C Ralph.

South Africa: J van der Westhuizen, A Willemse, J Muller, D-W Barry, T Delport, D Hougaard, J van der Westhuizen; C Bezuidenhout, J Smit, F Rautenbach, B Botha, V Matfield, C Krige (capt), D Rossouw, J Smith.
Replacements: D Coetzee, R Bands, S Boome, S Burger, N de Kock, L Koen, J Fourie.





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