Saturday 21 April 2018

All Blacks crush 'Boks - but Hansen still sore at Lions result

Hansen: “We drew a series we probably should have won.
Hansen: “We drew a series we probably should have won." Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Nigel Whittaker

New Zealand put down a daunting benchmark for the Rugby Championship after easing to a record 57-0 bonus-point victory over South Africa at North Harbour Stadium.

Afterwards Steve Hansen rated his side's performances on home soil this year as "B-plus or an A-minus - still irked by their failure to win the Lions series.

"We drew a series we probably should have won. We were behind only three minutes in the whole series but we didn't score enough tries or play enough rugby.

"We played pretty good against Australia. We showed composure. In the early part of the tournament I think the composure was outstanding; even against Argentina with a young team on the field when we could have crumbled after going behind at half-time."

The All Blacks were out-muscled by the visitors in the early exchanges as Springbok out-half Elton Jantjies hit the upright with a penalty, but it was one-way traffic once the hosts got on the scoreboard.


Beauden Barrett put New Zealand ahead with a penalty before quick intuition from scrum-half Aaron Smith led to the first try of the match when his quick tap and kick found Rieko Ioane, who went over in the corner.

But New Zealand soon extended their lead to 17-0 with a sensational try as Nehe Milner-Skudder picked off a Jantjies pass to sprint away 70 metres before finding Barrett to his right.

The fly-half returned the favour with a tremendous behind-the-back pass to the winger who touched down.

The out-half then created his brother Scott Barrett's first international try to put the All Blacks 24-0 up with six minutes of the half left.

There was still time for the hosts to get their fourth try before the interval as Brodie Retallick strolled in under the posts to make it 31-0.

It was not long before New Zealand crossed the whitewash again with Milner-Skudder grabbing his second of the match with a fine try in the corner in the 52nd minute before Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Lima Sopoaga and Codie Taylor dotted down to march past the half-century mark, with Beauden Barrett contributing 17 of the total.

Elsewhere, Australia claimed their first win of the campaign as they beat Argentina 45-20 in Canberra.

Israel Folau went over twice with Sekope Kepu, Nick Phipps, Will Genia and Jordan Uelese also scoring tries and Bernard Foley kicking 15 points.

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