All Blacks booted out of Durban

By Daniel Gilhooly

South Africa 31 All Blacks 19

South Africa's Morne Steyn scored a record 31 points to hand the All Blacks their second successive defeat. Photo / Getty Images
South Africa's Morne Steyn scored a record 31 points to hand the All Blacks their second successive defeat. Photo / Getty Images

DURBAN - Springboks first five-eighth Morne Steyn booted his way into test rugby's pantheon, carrying his side to a 31-19 defeat of the blundering All Blacks here this morning (NZT).

Steyn scored all of his team's points, which is a record for any individual against New Zealand, as South Africa strangled the tourists for the second time in a week.

It leaves the All Blacks without even a bonus point to show for their disappointing Tri-Nations double-header in the republic.

Not that they deserved it on today's performance, which was blighted by even more of the mistakes and brain explosions that marred their 28-19 loss in Bloemfontein seven days earlier.

The Springboks simply fed off their mistakes, with Steyn taking took full advantage via nine from 10 shots at goal in a haul that comprised eight penalties and the conversion of his own try in the 37th minute.

South Africa again exerted pressure up front and the All Blacks failed to respond, producing rugby that was often madcap from inside their own territory.

Clearly trying to tire their opponents, the New Zealanders spread the ball wide relentlessly but their skills let them down time and again.

Their scrum was strong, anchored by 21-year-old tighthead prop Owen Franks, but otherwise the forwards produced another wobbly lineout effort while they were routinely outgunned at the breakdown.

The more physical hosts slowed the ball expertly and were generally on the right side of the rulings from referee Nigel Owens.

Three yellow cards were dished out in total - including one to lock Isaac Ross which reduced both teams to 14 each late in the first half.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw lamented the gremlins that have crept into his team's game and need to be remedied ahead of the August 22 test against Australia in Sydney.

"The pressure got on top of us and we made vital mistakes like we did last week," he said.

"They were going forward at a lot of breakdowns and when you get that sort of ball it's tough.

"If you play too much rugby in your half you can pinned there and pay the price.

"When you can't win first phase, it's tough to get your game going. We have to get it right because we've got a few games to go yet."

McCaw and the front row stood tall in the All Blacks pack while centre Conrad Smith was the most level head in a backline that panicked too often in the face of aggressive defence.

They made the better start, up 10-3 after a brilliant early try to Ross, but trailed 22-13 by halftime and struggled to get within range against a home side with their tails up.

After 40 minutes Steyn had already matched Jannie de Beer's South African test record of 22 points against New Zealand.

He was equally influential in general play, with he and halfback Fourie du Preez peppering bombs which the All Blacks back three struggled to defuse.

The result was a triumph for captain John Smit, who led the Springboks for a world record 60th time.

Both teams landed early penalties - Steyn in fourth minute and his opposite Stephen Donald in the sixth - before the crowd were silenced by a memorable New Zealand team try that swept 95m.

Started by a quick throw-in to Smith, McCaw surged 30m and, after several phases, fullback Mils Muliaina put Ross clear down the left touchline.

Steyn knocked over two penalties before the game came to life with two yellow cards in the space of 3min.

Pietersen committed a blatant head-high tackle on All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan to halt a promising attack.

Donald landed the resulting penalty but it became 14-on-14 soon afterwards when Ross was ruled offside at a ruck and paid the price for his team's persistent offending.

With Ross off the park, New Zealand lost their next two lineouts and conceded a tighthead on their own tryline, the ball spewing out and finding Steyn who crossed unopposed.

New Zealand opened the second-half scoring against the run of play. A counter-attack sparked by winger Sitiveni Sivivatu ended when Smith was tackled prematurely by lock Bakkies Botha when chasing a chip kick.

Botha was sinbinned and Donald knocked over the penalty to reduce the score to 22-16.

The All Blacks failed to score in Botha's absence while Steyn was successful with penalties in the 55th and 65th minutes, bisected by a 53m goal knocked over by Luke McAlister, who had just entered the game in place of Donald.

Steyn had the final say with a penalty in one of the great test goalkicking displays.

It is the first time since 1976 the All Blacks have lost twice in South Africa in the same year.

South Africa 31 (Morne Steyn try; Morne Steyn 8 penalties; Morne Steyn conversion) def. New Zealand 19 (Isaac Ross try; Stephen Donald conversion; Donald 3, Luke McAlister penalties). HT: 22-13.


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