Friday, July 31, 2009
A few weeks after the Test of the Century between the All Blacks and Australia, Ellis Park in Johannesburg played host to a match that was right up there with the best in terms of entertainment, action, and emotionally charged Test matches.
It was a thrilling encounter between the Springboks and the All Blacks which featured ten tries in total, with eight being scored before the break.
South Africa had been struggling, with coach Nick Mallet under fire following four successive defeats. The players were also under pressure, but they duly silenced their critics as they took the game to the mighty ABs and prevailed.
They ran them ragged scoring five tries in 30 minutes before New Zealand fought back to close the twenty point deficit, and even take the lead at 37-36 following a Andrew Mehrtens penalty.
Robbie Fleck, in for the injured De Wet Barry, was lethal on the day as he scored two tries and troubled the opposition midfield whenever he had ball in hand.
The brilliant Christian Cullen scored his sixth Tri Nations try of the year and his 40th Test try in total. He scored again later, as did Tana Umaga who looked threatening whenever he had ball in hand.
The Springboks withheld the late onslaught though with some superb defensive work. Late in the game they camped in the New Zealand half before scrumhalf Werner Swanepoel picked up his second try as they hung on for the memorable 46-40 win.
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