Joubert runs All Blacks ragged

South Africa 40 - New Zealand 26
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The Independent Online

New Zealand's abandonment of the basics came back to haunt them in a second defeat in a week. South Africa's stunning victory, with a hat-trick of tries by the centre Marius Joubert, means they can still win the Tri-Nations title if they beat Australia in Durban on Saturday.

New Zealand's abandonment of the basics came back to haunt them in a second defeat in a week. South Africa's stunning victory, with a hat-trick of tries by the centre Marius Joubert, means they can still win the Tri-Nations title if they beat Australia in Durban on Saturday.

The Springboks wore their hearts on their sleeves on Saturday. Tough forwards like Eddie Andrews and Gerrie Britz were in tears during the national anthem, and the Boks played with ferocious commitment and passion in front ofNelson Mandela.

New Zealand's tactics undoubtedly helped the home side prevail. If you abandon a forward platform, you risk a game without structure or pattern. At times it seemed as though they were playing Sevens, even when being driven back by South Africa's aggressive defence. The passing was often suicidal, as when Andrew Mehrtens threw a hospital pass to Mils Muliaina in the first half and South Africa broke away to score through Breyton Paulse.

Joubert, who also made Jean de Villiers' try, said: "My form has not been that great in the Tests so far but Jake [White, the South African coach] just told me to run hard and score some tries." The returning lock Victor Matfield had a huge game, captain John Smit led by example and Joe van Niekerk oozed class at No 8. The back row's role in reviving from an early 10-0 deficit was too much for New Zealand.

South Africa led 19-13 before the lead changed hands four times in the second half. But the Boks finished the stronger, with tries by De Villiers and Joubert in the final 14 minutes.

South Africa: Tries Joubert 3, Paulse, De Villiers; Conversions Montgomery 3 Penalties Montgomery 3. New Zealand: Tries Muliaina, Rokocoko; Conversions Mehrtens 2 Penalties Mehrtens 4

South Africa: P Montgomery; B Paulse, M Joubert, D Barry, J de Villiers; J van der Westhuyzen, B Conradie; O du Randt, J Smit (capt), E Andrews, B Botha, V Matfield, S Burger, J van Niekerk, G Britz. Replacements: F du Preez for Conradie 44; AJ Venter for Botha 61; J Cronje for Van Niekerk 67; CJ van der Linde for Du Randt 70; H Shimange for Andrews 79 .

New Zealand: M Muliaina; D Howlett, T Umaga (capt), S Tuitupou, J Rokocoko; A Mehrtens, J Marshall; K Meeuws, K Mealamu, C Hayman, C Jack, S Maling, J Gibbes, X Rush, M Holah. Replacements: C Newby for Holah 59 mins; G Somerville for Meeuws 62; M Tuiali'i for Rush 62; B Kelleher for Marshall 72; A Mauger for Tuitupou 75.

Referee: N Williams (Wales), replaced by D Courtney (Ireland) 14.

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