New Zealand v South Africa live: Latest updates from the Rugby Championship

New Zealand v South Africa live: Latest updates from the Rugby Championship

By Charles Richardson, Rugby Reporter

There is little untoward about New Zealand emerging as victors in Auckland – a city in which the All Blacks have not lost since 1994, a now gargantuan 57-match unbeaten streak – but the voracious manner in which they blitzed and bashed the world-champion Springboks will have made the rest of the global game stand up and take note with the World Cup less than two months away.

Rugby’s showpiece in France has dictated that the Rugby Championship this year has taken on a truncated format, with each side playing each other just once. With this victory in Auckland, New Zealand have rested one hand on the tournament trophy; South Africa, meanwhile, with a squad on paper that made the hair stand on end, missed their opportunity for a veritable statement victory ahead of defending their world crown. The teams do meet again once more before the World Cup – at Twickenham, in August – but there will be little riding on the fixture.

Although the allure of the opening fixture of this year’s World Cup is indisputable – France against the All Blacks at the Stade de France – the conventional wisdom had been that Les Bleus, favourites for the title on home soil, would get their tournament off to a victorious start. ‘New Zealand possess wonders but they are not the beast of old’ might well have been the thinking, but this South African shellacking demands t

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