All Blacks 40
A sublime display from first five-eighth Daniel Carter helped New Zealand to a crush a weakened South Africa 40-7 in their Tri-nations test in Wellington tonight.
Carter, starting his first international match of the season after coming off the bench last week against Fiji, had an off night with his goalkicking, landing just half of his eight attempts but otherwise pulled the strings with aplomb as the All Blacks scored six tries to one to run out comfortable victors.
The 29-year-old had been below par in the Super 15 for the Crusaders but tonight was back to his best and also ended the night with the record for number of points scored in test rugby once again.
The Springboks, who left 21 players at home to recover from injuries, offered little in the way of an attacking threat and despite the urging of captain John Smit, had no answer for the hosts.
The win however was tempered by the loss of replacement prop John Afoa to injury only minutes after coming onto the pitch.
It was a night of firsts for the All Blacks, not just with the unveiling of a refurbished playing strip, but prop Wyatt Crockett and wing Zac Guildford crossed for their first test tries.
The Springboks were not left out of the picture as far as firsts were concerned with the veteran hooker Smith, playing in his 104th test, notched his first test try against the hosts.
Playing into a stiff southerly the home side were intent on playing an expansive game, but it was the boot of Carter who gave them a 3-0 lead after just two minutes. The successful kick meant Carter regained the record for most points scored in test rugby but he was astray with his three conversion attempts later in the half.
Crockett, in the squad as an injury replacement for prop Tony Woodcock, extended the lead after halfback Jimmy Cowan had shrugged off would-be tacklers to release Conrad Smith who sent the Canterbury loosehead over in the corner after 14 minutes.
The Springboks were back under their own posts almost immediately from the restart when Carter's vision culminated in a first five-pointer in the black jersey for Hawke's Bay flyer Guildford.
Carter stabbed through a kick from inside his own 22-metre line, and Ma'a Nonu, who put in a strong display on his return to his former stomping ground, scooped up the ball to put the South Africans on the back foot. Carter burst clear from the ensuing ruck and sent the 22-year-old free to run in from 40 metres out.
At 13-0 ahead with under 15 minutes gone, the All Blacks looked capable of running away with the match but some determined defence kept the Springboks' line intact.
That defensive strength bore fruit when hooker Smit's strong surge close to the line proved too difficult for Carter to handle and he crossed close to the posts to give Morne Steyn an easy conversion.
Despite a wealth of possession, the hosts led by only six points with halftime approaching, but Jane, another in the squad as injury cover, took his chance to shine after Cowan's pass allowed him to step past the defence on the halfway line and then leave Steyn for dead to go over in the right-hand corner to give New Zealand an 18-7 lead at the break.
Jane had a second five minutes into the second half after Cowan's pass across the faces of the Springboks' defence, which was very nearly intercepted, bounced into his arms.
Afoa, who came on three minutes into second half to replace Ben Franks was forced off before Guildford grabbed his second after some slick inter-passing.
Replacement first five-eighth Colin Slade had time to cross for his second try in his third test as the All Blacks ran away with the match in the second half.
New Zealand 40
(Cory Jane 2, Zac Guildford 2, Wyatt Crockett, Colin Slade tries; Daniel Carter 2 pen, 2 con)
South Africa 7
(John Smit try; Morne Steyn con). Halftime: 18-7.