Boks hit by Bunce double

South Africa 32 New Zealand 35
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The Independent Online
Frank Bunce launched a one-man attack on South Africa at Ellis Park to steer the All Blacks to victory in the opening game of the 1997 Tri-Nations series.

Bunce, 35 years old and in his 48th Test, scored two tries and rocked his opposite centres Percy Montgomery and Danie van Schalkwyk with thumping tackle after thumping tackle. Montgomery's obvious frustration earned him a yellow-card caution in the 51st minute for obstructing Bunce in the move leading to the veteran's second try.

Jannie de Beer, who kicked 13 points in his Test debut against the Lions here a fortnight ago, drew first blood for South Africa, landing a 40- metre penalty. From the restart, De Beer fired the ball out to the left- wing Pieter Rossouw, with Van Schalkwyk looping round. The scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen tidied up at the breakdown and slipped a pass to Gary Teichmann. The Springbok captain cut inside his opposite No 8 Zinzan Brooke and handed on for the hooker Naka Drotske to score in the left corner.

De Beer converted but then missed with an attempted drop goal, and that let-off seemed to wake up the All Blacks. From the first scrum of the match on 14 minutes, Justin Marshall ran left and passed to the outside- half Carlos Spencer. Marshall took off again, delaying his pass to put Lee Stensness into space before he handed on to Bunce. He stepped off his left foot once, then again, and headed, unopposed, for the posts.

De Beer snapped a 40-metre drop goal on 21 minutes to take South Africa 13-7 clear, and worse followed for the reigning Tri-Nations champions, with Tana Umaga on the left-wing making a mess of a De Beer chip over the top. South Africa's scrum held five metres out, and Van der Westhuizen, running left, popped a perfectly weighted pass to the flying Russell Bennett, who ran through Stensness at inside-centre to leave De Beer the easy conversion.

Down 23-7 after another De Beer penalty, Jeff Wilson hit back from the right-wing. He charged down Van der Westhuizen's kick 40 metres out and outpaced Ruben Kruger. Three minutes later Wilson, this time on the left flank, grubber-kicked through for Spencer to gather. He missed the conversion to keep the Springboks 23-19 ahead at the break.

De Beer opened the second half as he had the first with a penalty, but Bunce closed the gap with a 45-metre charge to the line after taking Van Schalkwyk on the outside and muscling past Rossouw. Spencer converted from wide out to draw level. De Beer (drop goal) and Spencer (penalty) struck again before Springbok ill-discipline gave the All Blacks the chance to gain control, two Spencer goals taking them to a 35-32 victory at altitude. De Beer could have earned a draw at the death but chose the wrong time for his only place-kick miss of the match. All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick left the field with a knee injury 10 minutes into the second half but expects to play against Australia in Melbourne next week.

South Africa: R Bennett (Border); A Snyman (Northern Transvaal), P Montgomery (Western Province), D van Schalkwyk (Northern Transvaal), P Rossouw (Western Province); J de Beer (Free State), J van der Westhuizen (Northern Transvaal); O du Randt (Free State), N Drotske (Orange Free State), M Hurter (Northern Transvaal), M Andrews (Natal), K Otto (Northern Transvaal), G Teichmann (capt, Natal), A Venter (Free State), R Kruger (Northern Transvaal). Replacements: J Small (Gauteng) for Bennett, 42; F van Heerden (Western Province) for Andrews, 66; D Theron (Griqualand West) for Du Randt, 67; H Honiball (Natal) for Montgomery,73.

New Zealand: C Cullen (Manawatu); J Wilson (Otago), F Bunce (North Harbour), L Stensness (Auckland), T Umaga (Wellington); C Spencer (Auckland), J Marshall (Canterbury); O Brown (Auckland), S Fitzpatrick (capt, Auckland), C Dowd (Auckland), R Brooke (Auckland), I Jones (Auckland), J Kronfeld (Otago), Z Brooke (Auckland), T Randell (Otago). Replacements: A Ieremia (Wellington) for Umaga, 30; N Hewitt (Southland) for Fitzpatrick, 50.