New Zealand thrash South Africa to all but seal title

Hooker Dane Coles inspires three tries in second-half blitz in Christchurch

New Zealand 41 South Africa 13

Hooker Dane Coles gave a masterclass in backline playmaking to set up three New Zealand tries as the world champions thrashed South Africa 41-13 to all but secure the Rugby Championship title in Christchurch on Saturday.

Coles made the final pass for tries to Israel Dagg, Julian Savea and Sam Whitelock, while Ben Smith, Ardie Savea and TJ Perenara also crossed to secure the bonus-point victory.

Beauden Barrett slotted four conversions and a penalty for the home side, who have moved to 20 competition points and all but sealed the Rugby Championship with two games remaining.


Springboks winger Bryan Habana scored his 66th Test try, three short of the world record of Japan's Daisuke Ohata, while outhalf Elton Jantjies added a conversion and two penalties for the touring side.

The hosts only had a 15-10 lead at half-time as they struggled to get any flow and turned the ball over just when they appeared to have stretched the visitors to breaking point, but kicked away with four second-half tries.

While Barrett kicked a ninth-minute penalty to score the first points for the All Blacks, the visitors got on board when Habana ran a superb angle and was put into space by Warren Whiteley 10 minutes later.

The All Blacks responded immediately when Jantjies dropped the restart and following an attacking scrum, Coles made a no-look pass to put Dagg over.

The hooker again provided the final pass to give Savea his 43rd Test try – his first against South Africa – in the 28th minute.

Jantjies’s penalty ensured the All Blacks only held a five-point advantage at half-time, but they extended their lead in the 49th minute when Smith finished off a sweeping counter attack sparked by Barrett and Coles.

Openside flanker Ardie Savea, making his first Test start, grabbed his second try, before Whitelock received a 15-metre pass from Coles to score in the corner.

Replacement scrumhalf Perenara capped the scoring from an attacking scrum.