19th October 07:33 AM
All Blacks start World Cup defence by beating Springboks 23-13
By Semi Turaga
Sunday 22/09/2019

The All Blacks have begun their Rugby World Cup defence with a 23-13 victory over South Africa in a remarkable match at Yokohama which had the feel of a knockout fixture rather than a first pool game.

The Springboks started brightly and took the lead with a Handre Pollard penalty before the All Blacks hit back.

Richie Mo'unga drew New Zealand level and two quick tries by George Bridge and Scott Barrett put them in front.

Pieter‑Steph du Toit's try and a Pollard drop‑goal made it tense before Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett penalties.

The result means New Zealand extend their winning run to 15 games in the competition, last losing to France in the 2007 quarter‑finals.

The All Blacks are top of Pool B with their win over South Africa, putting them in the best possible position to finish in the number one spot come the end of the first round.

Aside from South Africa, New Zealand's competition in Pool B is relatively weak by comparison.

The All Blacks face 22nd ranked Canada on Wednesday.

New Zealand is expected to win all of those matches comfortably and, if they do, would mean they'll finish top of Pool B.

RNZ

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