All Blacks beat Springboks 29 - 15

All Blacks dives for a try. AFP Photo
Two-tries from captain Kieran Read helped New Zealand grab the lead in the Rugby Championship on Saturday after a 29-15 victory over South Africa, who had Bismarck du Plessis sent off for two contentious yellow cards at Eden Park.The bonus point victory came courtesy of tries from Read, Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane but at the cost of a collarbone injury to fly half Daniel Carter in a crunching tackle from hooker du Plessis.

Du Plessis was sin-binned for the tackle, then received a second yellow and automatic red in the first minute of the second half for leading with his elbow into the throat of Liam Messam.

New Zealand, who had Read and Ma'a Nonu sin-binned in the final 10 minutes, moved to 17 points with its fourth victory, while the Springboks were left in second place on 13 points.

The match had been billed as the most important in New Zealand since the 2011 World Cup final and neither side disappointed in an intense encounter.

But the pivotal moment of the game occurred in the first half when Carter was crunched by du Plessis in a tackle ruled by referee Romain Poite to be high, although television replays suggested the hooker had been hard done by.

The tackle sparked an all-in brawl with several players wrestling, pushing and shoving, while the 47,362-sellout crowd bayed for the Springbok's blood as he trudged to the sideline.

The All Blacks led 17-10 at half-time after Read had crossed from an early attacking line-out and lock Retallick finished a sweeping movement sparked by Beauden Barrett's 50-metre burst downfield while du Plessis was off the pitch.

Carter converted Read's try and Barrett slotted a conversion and penalty for the All Blacks, while South Africa fly-half Morne Steyn scored an early penalty and converted du Plessis's 31st minute try from a rolling maul.

The hulking rake lasted little more than a minute after the break before being sent off when he raised his elbow in tackle and struck flanker Messam in the throat.

Until that point the match had looked likely to be decided by the smallest of margins but the extra man for much of the second half played into the hands of the world champions.

Read grabbed his second try after a sustained build-up and the All Blacks spent the majority of the remainder of the match on attack with Cane grabbing the bonus point try.

Replacement back Patrick Lambie scored a consolation try for the Springboks with five minutes remaining and the All Blacks reduced to 13 men.

The Springboks next host Australia in Cape Town while the All Blacks travel to La Plata to meet Argentina. Both games are on September 28.

New Zealand: 29 (K Read 2, B Retallick, S Cane tries; B Barrett 2/3 cons, 1/2 pens; D Carter 1/1 cons)

South Africa: 15 (B du Plessis, P Lambie tries; M Steyn 1/2 cons, 1/2 pens)

Reuters
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