All Blacks keep Tri-Nations dream alive - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All Blacks keep Tri-Nations dream alive

By Chris Foley 27/08/2005 10:53:54 PM Comments (0)

The New Zealand All Blacks kept their Tri-Nations hopes alive when a late try by Keven Mealamu saw them snatch a dramatic 31-27 victory over South Africa.

The Springboks, who came within minutes of securing their first back-to-back Tri-Nations titles, still lead the table but will be overtaken if the All Blacks beat injury-ravaged Australia in Auckland next weekend.

The All Blacks outscored the Springboks four tries to three, two of them to Joe Rokocoko and with the decisive score coming three minutes from time when Mealamu peeled off a maul to dive across the line. Substitute Luke McAlister converted.

The Springboks tries all came from All Blacks mistakes.

It was a marked improvement by the All Blacks from their 16-22 loss in Cape Town three weeks ago, with the forwards holding their own, and the backs concentrating on putting Springboks fullback Percy Montgomery which pressure.

"We deserved to win because we played the most rugby," coach Graham Henry said.

"There was a concentration in trying to go up the guts of the field rather than go wide and it was pretty effective," coach Graham Henry said.

"One of the keys of the game was to try and drive the lineouts which we hadn't done in Cape Town and they drove the lineout and scored."

South African captain and hooker John Smit conceded the much improved All Blacks forwards performance made the difference.

"You've got to take your hat off to their pack. They scored the winning try with Keven Mealamu off the pack and driving it nicely and breaking off so you've got to give the edge to the All Blacks, they definitely upped their game in the tight five and that made a big difference."

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