Thursday 22 February 2018 / 07:42 AM


The All Blacks returned to peak form in blistering fashion on Saturday night, routing the Springboks by a record-shattering 57-0 scoreline at North Harbour Stadium.

Forced to come from behind in their last two wins over Australia and Argentina – after taking their foot off the gas against the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship opener – New Zealand produced a complete 80-minute performance of rare mastery.

After weathering a promising start by South Africa, the hosts opened the scoring via Beauden Barrett’s boot in the 14th minute, before boom winger Reiko Ioane bagged the first try in breath-taking fashion from a brilliant Aaron Smith kick.

Nehe Milner-Skudder snaffled an intercept in the 21st minute and linked with Barrett, who produced a deft flick pass to send Milner Skudder over, and Scott Barrett and Brodie Retallick backed up similarly outstanding passages to blow the halftime scoreline out to 31-0.

Milner Skudder opened the All Blacks’ second-half account in the 53rd minute with his 11th try in 10 Tests, before the floodgates reopened in the last 17 minutes, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Lima Sopoaga and Codie Taylor all dotting down after entering the fray from the bench.

[YouTube –]

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