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The enthusiastic rugby fans in Cape Town, South Africa, waited nine-years for a return of the All Blacks versus Springbok rivalry, and witnessed an exciting but disappointing result as New Zealand beat South Africa 25-24.
For the Kiwis, they ended the 2017 Rugby Championship undefeated at 6-0. The Springboks and Australia tied for second place at 2-2-2, when the Wallabies beat Argentina 37-20 in Mendoza. Los Pumas evened up the score at 20-20 in the second half but Australia exploded for two tries to clinch the win. Highlights at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZsE_xPzNt8.
Earlier this year, in Albany, New Zealand, the All Blacks handed South Africa their worst defeat in this old rivalry, romping 57-0.
Saturday's match was competitive throughout with New Zealand up 8-3 at the break. The game see-sawed back and forth with South Africa up 17-15, and upset in sight. But a fine run by the All Black fullback McKenzie brought the Kiwis into a 22-17 lead, which they never relinquished. South Africa, with a man red carded, scored one last try and conversion to reduce the lead to 25-24. The Springboks had battled down to the wire with a stout defense.
Highlights of the game at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zfxY01oueM/.
The northern hemisphere Six Nations 2018 tournament will begin on February 1 and continue until March 16. Until then, the top five World Rugby ranked fifteens are:
- New Zealand
- South Africa