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All Blacks end losing streak with dramatic win


(BBC)

New Zealand ended a three-match losing streak with a 35-23 win over South Africa in the second round of the Rugby Championship.

A last-minute try by lock Scott Barrett ensured victory for the All Blacks in a thrilling encounter in Johannesburg.

The win may have saved the job of embattled coach Ian Foster.

Later on Saturday Argentina recorded their record win over Australia, running in seven tries in a thumping 48-17 victory.

After the All Blacks’ win, New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said Foster’s future would be determined following consultation with team management once they arrived home.

“We’ll take stock of the situation and the information coming out of the camp, and make a decision,” said Robinson.

“We just need to work through this little period to understand where the next steps are with this management team.”

New Zealand had lost five of their previous six matches before the Johannesburg showdown with the Boks, including a 16-point defeat by the Springboks last weekend.

But a much-improved All Blacks side turned things around on Saturday in an exciting match in which world champions South Africa led by two points with six minutes remaining before conceding two converted tries.

“We worked hard. It’s never easy when you’re coming off a couple of losses,” Foster said.

“I know I got mocked for saying it after a loss, but we made a big shift through our forward pack last week.

“The work [assistant coach] Jason Ryan’s done there was strong, and I felt we were creating a few opportunities. We wanted it so much, we were rushing things, while today we were just more patient.”

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New Zealand opened the scoring in the 25th minute via a penalty and soon raced into a 15-0 lead when a try from captain Sam Cane was followed by hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho barging over from close range after incessant pressure.

The Springboks had a good close to the half, though. Lukhanyo Am showed great strength to score, and fly-half Handre Pollard landed a penalty from 55 yards to make it 15-10 at the break.

The teams traded penalties before Makazole Mapimpi scored South Africa’s second try, and they took the lead for the first time on 68 minutes at 23-21 thanks to a Pollard penalty.

But the All Blacks produced a big finish when David Havili and Barrett scored late tries to complete the win.

Argentina secure record win over Australia

In the second Rugby Championship game on Saturday, Argentina gained revenge on Australia for last week’s defeat with a seven-try victory.

Tries from Juan Imhoff, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Emiliano Boffelli and Tomas Albornoz, and two from Thomas Gallo, helped the side now coached by former Australia boss Michael Cheika to a convincing victory.

The win took them to the top of the Rugby Championship table after their first win in the competition since 2020.

The Wallabies scored tries through captain James Slipper and centre Len Ikitau, but bar a brief spell in the opening half never really threatened the hosts.

Last Saturday Australia came from behind to beat Argentina 41-26 in Mendoza.

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