Second-ranked New Zealand All Blacks defeated fourth-ranked South Africa 23-13 in the opening Pool B match for both teams in the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The All Blacks had a 17-3 lead at the break at International Stadium Yokahama on 21 September.
The match featured the two highest-ranked teams in Pool B with the defending RWC Champions New Zealand never having lost a pool match.
South Africa struck first with a penalty goal by flyhalf Handre Pollard less than 2 minutes into the match to take a 3-0 lead. The All Blacks then placed south Africa under pressure with a high ball deep inside Springboks territory, but Cheslin Kolbe claimed the mark and cleared.
The Springboks Pollard’s attempt to extend the lead in the 19th minute bounced off the posts.
A handling error by scrumhalf Francois Faf De Klerk resulted in a kick ahead by Aaron Smith and ended with the Springboks penalized at the breakdown. All Blacks flyhalf Richie Mo’unga then slotted the kick to level the match at 3 all.
New Zealand attacked from the restart with Beauden Barrett offloading to George Bridge for the try and Mo’unga adding the conversion to take a 10-3 lead. The team quickly added another try by Scott Barrett under the posts after a penalty advantage and Mo’unga added the extras to push the lead to 17-3. The All Blacks had just scored all their points within six minutes.
The All Blacks Mo’unga attempted a penalty kick in the closing minutes before the break but was wide.
Following an electric break by Cheslin Kolbe, who motored to within two-meters of in goal, before trying to keep the ball in play. Beauden Barrett gathered the ball and the All Blacks cleared. The Springboks countered and Pieter-Steph Du Toit finished with a try, with Pollard adding the extras to cut the lead to 17-10.
South Africa attacked again before losing the ball in the breakdown within two-meters of in-goal. The All Blacks countered with a break by Sevu Reece and a grub kick by Beauden Barrett, but South Africa recovered to stop the attack.
Handre Pollard cut the lead to 17-13 after a drop goal in the 59th minute. New Zealand answered back seven minutes later with a Mo’unga penalty goal to lead again by a converted try, 20-13.
In the 72nd minute, Beauden Barrett slotted a penalty goal for the All Blacks, 23-13.
Cheslin Kolbe continued with another break and showed his speed and stepping ability. The ball, however, was turned over in the breakdown as he was isolated.
With the win, the defending RWC Champions New Zealand has four points in the standings. Beauden Barrett’s penalty goal in the 72nd minute for the All Blacks meant that the Springboks did not gain a losing bonus point. Barrett was named the Player of the Match.
The last time the All Blacks have lost in an RWC match was in 2007 during the Cup Quarterfinals.
Squads & Match Preview
New Zealand: 1 Joe Moody, 2 Dane Coles, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Sam Whitelock, 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 8 Kieran Read (capt.), 9 Aaron Smith, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 11 George Bridge, 12 Ryan Crotty, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 14 Sevu Reece, 15 Beauden Barrett 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Ben Smith
South Africa: 1. Steven Kitshoff 2. Malcolm Marx 3. Frans Malherbe 4. Eben Etzebeth 5. Franco Mostert 6. Siya Kolisi (capt.) 7. Pieter-Steph Du Toit 8. Duane Vermeulen 9. Francois Faf De Klerk 10. Handre Pollard 11. Makazole Mapimpi 12. Damian de Allende 13. Lukhanyo Am 14. Cheslin Kolbe 15. Willie Le Roux 16. Mbongeni Mbonambi 17. Tendai Mtawarira 18. Trevor Nyakane 19. RG Snyman 20. Francois Louw 21. Herschel Jantjies 22. Frans Steyn 23. Jesse Kriel