Rugby Championship: New Zealand defeat South Africa

Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw capitalised on a clever cross-field kick from Aaron Cruden
New Zealand (6) 14
Try: McCaw
Pens: Cruden (2), Barrett
South Africa (7) 10
Try: Hendricks
Con: Pollard
Drop goal: Pollard

Captain Richie McCaw scored his 25th Test try to help New Zealand to a 14-10 win against South Africa in the Rugby Championship in Wellington.

The All Black open-side crossed in the corner from a reverse pass by Kieran Reid after a clever cross-field kick from fly-half Aaron Cruden.

Cornal Hendricks had earlier put South Africa into the lead, bursting through the defence on 16 minutes for his try.

The All Blacks lead the Springboks and Australia by six points in the table.

Cruden kicked the Kiwis into a deserved 10th minute lead with a penalty that came during a period when the Springboks were unable to get out of their own half.

Rugby Championship table
PlayedWonDrawnLostPoints differenceBonus pointsPoints
New Zealand431054216
South Africa42024210

However, South Africa hit back five minutes later when Hendricks went over, with fly-half Handre Pollard converting.

South Africa's resilient defence kept the home side to just one more Cruden penalty and the Boks led 7-6 at the break.

But McCaw's 46th-minute try put New Zealand back in front and a penalty from Beauden Barrett after 66 minutes, cancelling out a drop-goal from Pollard, ensured they stayed there.

South Africa relentlessly pressurised the hosts' tryline the final five minutes but Steve Hansen's side held on to extend their record of 36 consecutive home Test wins, over a five-year period.

New Zealand meet South Africa again in the return fixture in the final round on 4 October.

Ma'a Nonu takes on South Africa second row Victor Matfield
All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu looks set to miss the remainder of the championship with a broken forearm

In the other match of the round, Australia survived a late rally from Argentina to win 32-25 on the Gold Coast and move level on points with South Africa.

A bruising encounter saw significant injuries to both New Zealand inside centre Ma'a Nonu and Springboks scrum-half Ruan Pienaar.

Both players could miss could miss the rest of the championship with a suspected broken forearm and a damaged knee respectively.

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said Pienaar looks set to be out for between six and eight weeks, while Nonu was taken to hospital during the game.

"We've got a pretty good idea of Ma'a's prognosis," coach Steve Hansen said. "We think it's probably broken.

"He got sore in his arm and it got worse and the doctor took a look at half-time and said 'I don't think you should go back'."

2014 Rugby Championship
16 August: Australia 12-12 New Zealand, South Africa 13-6 Argentina13 September: New Zealand 14-10 South Africa, Australia 32-25 Argentina
23 August: New Zealand 51-20 Australia, Argentina 31-33 South Africa27 September: South Africa v Australia, Argentina v New Zealand
6 September: New Zealand 28-9 Argentina, Australia 24-23 South Africa4 October: South Africa v New Zealand, Argentina v Australia

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