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New Zealand have climbed above South Africa in the Rugby Championship table following their 29-15 win over the Springboks at Eden Park in Auckland.
Stand-in captain Kieran Read scored two tries in an impressive performance for the All Blacks, in the third and 45th minutes, while a score from lock BrodieRetallick helped to assert the home side’s dominance. Sam Cane sealed the bonus point win with a try 13 minutes from the end.
South Africa were competitive though, and were only seven points down at half-time, trailing 17-10 after Bismarck du Plessis crossed over in the 31st minute.
However, the sending off of Du Plessis in the 42nd minute proved to be a pivotal moment, and this allowed New Zealand to capitalise.
Du Plessis was sin-binned in the first half for a crunching high challenge on Dan Carter which dislocated the Kiwi fly-half’s shoulder and he is now a major doubt for the rest of the tournament.
The Springbok was then sent off after receiving a second yellow for elbowing flanker Liam Messam.
Despite the man disadvantage, Patrick Lambie did go over five minutes from time, but it was too little too late for a side who were second-best in many departments throughout the game.
The result sees New Zealand take a four-point advantage at the top of the Rugby Championship table, having now claimed four victories out of four. This was South Africa’s first defeat of the competition.