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The 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan is less than sixty-days away before the opening match on September 20 (Japan vs. Russia). Meanwhile, the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship continued to round two of the annual event.
The match of major importance – the 98th Test Match between the All Blacks and the Springboks - saw South Africa score at the 79th minute to tie New Zealand 16-16 in Westpac Stadium, Wellington. The Springboks opened a 6-0 first half margin from two Handre Pollard penalties. The All Blacks responded with a brilliant run and offload to make it (after conversion) 7-6, which is how the first half ended.
The Kiwis increased the second period lead to 16-9, and with less than two-minutes on the clock, were confident of a tight victory.
South Africa had a last run of play. The winger booted a high up and under, which bounced up in the air and into the hands of the Springboks’ scrumhalf, Herschel Jantijes, who touched down for a try. The reliable Pollard kicked his third, and most important, penalty kick, to give the visitors a miraculous tie. See highlights at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxIXptEt0pE
Australia had a difficult time against pesky Argentina, beating Los Pumas 16-10 at home.
New Zealand and South Africa are tied for the lead with 1-0-1, Australia second at 1-1, and Argentina last at 0-2.
South Africa edged into fourth place ahead of England in the World Rugby rankings.
It’s important to remember that the southern hemisphere nations have won seven of the eight past Rugby World Cups. In addition, they have placed second on three occasions. England won in 2003 in Australia.