Rugby Championship: New Zealand beat South Africa and win title

Ardie Savea
Ardie Savea made an explosive impact in his seventh Test
Rugby Championship: New Zealand v South Africa
New Zealand: 41
Tries: Dagg, J Savea, B Smith, A Savea, Whitelock, Perenara Pens: Barrett Cons: Barrett (4)
South Africa: 13
Tries: Habana Pens: Janjies (2) Cons: Jantjies

New Zealand won the Rugby Championship with two matches to spare after beating South Africa 41-13 in Christchurch.

South Africa started brightly, with Bryan Habana crossing for his 66th Test try to give the visitors an early lead.

However, Elton Jantjies' spilt restart led the Springboks to concede both the lead and the momentum, with Israel Dagg crossing from the resultant scrum.

Last year's champions Australia beat Argentina 36-20 in the later fixture to move into second in the table.

New Zealand have made a habit of starting slowly before impressing in the second half throughout the tournament.

Saturday was no different, with Habana picking an excellent line to penetrate the New Zealand defence after 20 minutes.

However, when fly-half Jantjies fumbled Beauden Barrett's restart, the All Blacks seized the initiative.

Within 10 minutes they had a clear lead after Julian Savea scored from a fine offload by hooker Dane Coles - and they went into the break 15-10 up.

New Zealand ended any thoughts of a South Africa fightback early in the second half when Ben Smith finished a slick move that featured two impressive Ardie Savea breaks.

Savea ran over from close range soon afterwards following sterling work from scrum-half Ben Smith, then lock Sam Whitelock crossed on the wing after more impressive play from Coles, before TJ Perenara rounded off the scoring.

Australia started strongly against Argentina, scoring three tries in the first 12 minutes before surviving a second-half fightback.

Each team has two remaining matches, with South Africa hosting Australia next on 1 October, before New Zealand travel to Argentina.

Top Stories