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Tri Nations Rugby Glory
International rugby game, South Africa vs New Zealand, for the Freedom Cup and Tri Nations.
As the reigning champions the New Zealand All Blacks faced the South African Springboks today in Bloemfontein for what should surely be remembered as one of the great matches of the season, and the opening match for the Freedom Cup. From even before the kickoff it became apparent that both star studded teams is completely committed to go home victorious after this match, when the Springboks stared down the All Black Haka in their traditional arms locked style.
The expressions on the players' intense faces during the Haka told a tale of old rivalry and great expectations for this very passionate match.
The All Blacks scored the first points of the game, 3 minutes in with a penalty, but the rest of the first half was a flurry of mistakes by the All Blacks, not at all what anyone expected from them. A complete lack of discipline really cost them very dearly.
Pierre Spies and Bakkies Botha did brilliantly upfront for the Springboks, and the only problem with their performance was the 3 missed penalties and a half hearted drop goal attempt by Ruan Pienaar, which he offset with a lovely try set up by exciting forwards play.
With a half time score of 14 - 3 for the Springboks, the second half was always open to be a hard fought contest.
Both the All Blacks and Springboks started the 2nd half with replacements, and they looked set for business. The All Blacks no doubt hoping for a big comeback.
The All Blacks looked a new team in the second half, the coach must have had some harsh words in the locker room, and Conrad Smith scored a great try early on for them, followed by a penalty minutes later to get the All Blacks within 4 points of the Springboks again.
A couple of penalties by Morne Steyn kept South Africa in the lead though, as New Zealand play some of the most exciting rugby in years half way into the 2nd half, getting another penalty to stay within 4 points from the Springboks.
All though the All Blacks held their own in the scrums and rucks and malls, they never competed in the line outs, costing them dearly in field position.
South Africa defended line after line of All Black attack valiantly and it finally paid off with an unbelievable try by Jaque Fourie in the 72nd minute with an opportunity created by the big man Pierre Spies.
The increase in lead was short lived however as the All Blacks got another penalty, bringing South Africa back to within striking distance.
Morne Steyn however retaliated with a penalty minutes later to take the game away from the opposition.
It was a hard fought battle, with the Springboks turning up victorious and early mistakes in the first half costing the All Blacks dearly.
Final score 28 - 19 for South Africa, setting them off to a flying start for the season.
If this game is anything to go on, we are in for a great Tri Nations season!