South Africa
South Africa led from the eighth minute until the end of the game
South Africa (10) 26
Tries: Arendse, Le Roux Cons: Pollard 2 Pens: Pollard 3 Drop-goal Pollard
New Zealand (3) 10
Tries: Frizell Cons: Mo’unga Pens: J Barrett

New Zealand fell to a fifth defeat in their last six Tests as they lost 26-10 against South Africa in their Rugby Championship opener in Nelspruit.

Wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, who was later sent off, crossed for the first try.

Handre Pollard kicked the Springboks 19-3 ahead but Shannon Frizell reduced the deficit with a late try.

As the All Blacks pushed for another, substitute Willie le Roux scored with the penultimate play of the game and Pollard kicked the final conversion.

Further disappointment for the visitors follows a first home Test series defeat by Ireland last month.

Arendse’s first international try was just reward as the world champions dominated the set-piece and breakdown from the start of the game, despite losing scrum-half Faf de Klerk to a first-minute head knock.

Pollard’s 16 points inflicted further damage on the All Blacks as the hosts recorded their biggest win over their southern hemisphere rivals since 1928.

The only negative for the Boks was Arendse’s sending off for a dangerous tackle in the air on 75 minutes.

But Frizell’s late response could not dampen the party atmosphere at the Mbombela Stadium as Le Roux gathered a loose ball to scamper clear and register a second South African try.

New Zealand came into the game as underdogs but their third defeat in a row piles yet more pressure on head coach Ian Foster.

“Congratulations to South Africa, they were more clinical than us,” Foster said. “They played their game well.

“Under pressure they went to the kicking game and that put us under a lot of pressure.

“For us, I actually thought it was a step up in performance from the last series. The line-out worked well, the maul defence was good and our overall defence was pretty solid.

“We perhaps just missed a little bit of timing in terms of our attack. We will have to go and look at that.”

New Zealand conceded 12 penalties to the Boks’ seven, and Foster added: “It felt like we weren’t getting the rub of the green in the first 20 minutes and that put us behind a little bit.

“The third quarter was critical for us in terms of getting back into the game, but all the Springboks did was carry hard and get a few penalties. That is their game, which is a pressure game.

“You saw as the match unfolded the opportunities did start to come, there were just a couple of handling errors. I thought we made some strides [forward], but we have to prove that next week.”

All Blacks captain Sam Cane said: “The Springboks threw a hell of a lot at us, we did quite well to absorb it but it took a lot out of us. They kept applying pressure, especially at the breakdown, and that disrupted a lot of our flow.

“We’re bitterly disappointed, it really hurts. We must get better at the breakdown and the contestables [in the air]. I can’t ask any more of the team in terms of the belief and the effort. It is just small margins at this level.”

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