All Blacks charge into history
SEAN Fitzpatrick's All Blacks became the first New Zealand side to win a series in South Africa with a hard-fought 33-26 win over the Springboks at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld last night.
'It's fantastic, but it hasn't sunk in yet,' said an elated Fitzpatrick after the match, which followed New Zealand's 23-19 win over the South Africans in Durban last weekend and gave the tourists an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Springbok captain Gary Teichmann, who was replaced nine minutes from the final whistle by Wayne Fyvie, was magnanimous in defeat.
'All credit to the All Blacks,' he said.
'They're a great side. We gave it everything we've got and we just have to focus on Johannesburg next Saturday.
'We obviously don't want a 3-0 series.' Both sides scored three tries, the Springboks going to an early lead when second-row forward Hannes Strydom was driven over the line in the third minute.
But 10 minutes later, Jeff Wilson went over for the first of his two first-half tries and fly-half Simon Culhane added the extra two points to give New Zealand a lead they were never to surrender.
Wilson, voted Man of the Match, scored his first try after some fine interplay between second-row forwards Ian Jones - replaced on 71 minutes by Blair Larsen - and Robin Brooke.
But his second was an absolute gem.
Scrum-half Justin Marshall made the initial break to feed Wilson, who chipped ahead and fielded the kind bounce to leave the Springbok defence stranded.
'It's great to make history,' said Wilson of the breaking of a 75-year All Black hoodoo.
'But the tour is far from over yet.' Almost inevitably, the other All Black scorer was Zinzan Brooke, who crashed over three minutes from the half-time whistle to confirm his status as the scourge of the Springboks.
Culhane, who was replaced by Jon Preston in the 62nd minute, was again successful with his third conversion.
With Springbok fly-half Joel Stransky landing two penalties, the All Blacks held a 21-11 lead as the teams went into the break.
But then the South Africans came back strongly in the second half, with flanker Ruben Kruger being banged over the line by the South African pack from a tap penalty 10 metres from the line in the 58th minute.
Stransky, who had as ragged a day with the boot as he did in the opening Test, landed the conversion to put his side back in the hunt.
South Africa could have regained the lead when Joost van der Westhuizen chipped ahead and fielded the ball to go over, but Stransky hit the upright for the second time and the All Blacks remained a point in front.
Preston then landed two penalties and Stransky one as the match see-sawed under immense pressure from the Springboks on the All Black line.
But then Zinzan Brooke wrote the final chapter of a book he has made his own on this tour with a superb drop goal a minute from time to put the game - and the series - beyond the grasp of the World Cup holders.
The final Test of the series is scheduled for Ellis Park next Saturday.
TEAMS South Africa: Andre Joubert; Justin Swart, Andre Snyman, Danie van Schalkwyk, Pieter Hendriks; Joel Stransky, Joost van der Westhuizen; Gary Teichmann (captain) (Wayne Fyvie 71), Andre Venter, Ruben Kruger, Hannes Strydom (Kobus Wiese 26), Mark Andrews, Marius Hurter, Henry Tromp (James Dalton 65), Os du Randt.
New Zealand: Christian Cullen; Jeff Wilson, Frank Bunce, Walter Little, Glen Osbourne; Simon Culhane (Jon Preston 62), Justin Marshall; Zinzan Brooke, Josh Kronfeld (Andy Blowers 71), Michael Jones, Robin Brooke, Ian Jones (Blair Larsen 71), Olo Brown, Sean Fitzpatrick (captain), Craig Dowd.