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Rugby Champioship: victory for South Africa and New Zealand

South Africa 27-6 Argentina

Morne Steyn spoiled Argentina's southern hemisphere debut and answered his own critics to lead South Africa to a 27-6 win over the Pumas in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

Steyn marked the match in which he became the Springboks' most capped flyhalf with a dominant display from No. 10 to back up tries by fullback Zane Kirchner, flanker Marcell Coetzee and wing Bryan Habana.

Five-eighth Morne Steyn was back to his place-kicking best for the Springboks after a poor mid-year series against England, landing three conversions and two penalties for a perfect record.

Argentina could have done with him as outside centre Marcelo Bosch failed from an early second-half penalty attempt and then fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez fluffed two closer-range kicks at goal.

The Pumas pack recovered from a poor start in which they conceded free kicks at the first two scrums for early engagements to hold their own in the set pieces and win some crucial turnovers.

But the backs never looked like scoring a try and this will be an area of concern for coach Santiago Phelan ahead of the return match in western provincial capital Mendoza next Saturday.

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Australia 19-27 New Zealand

New Zealand's All Blacks started their Rugby Championship campaign with a convincing 19-27 victory over Australia's Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday.

The World Cup holders raced into an 18-3 lead through tries by Israel Dagg and Cory Jane before veteran lock Nathan Sharpe crossed just before half time for the Wallabies’ only try.

Berrick Barnes’ kicking hauled Australia to within five points to leave New Zealand facing an uncomfortable final few minutes but Dan Carter’s fifth successful penalty ensured the All Blacks victory.

Defending southern hemisphere champions Australia troubled New Zealand when they had the ball in hand but a raft of missed tackles and a couple of knock-ons at key moments effectively handed the win to the All Blacks.

Carter kicked 17 points but the biggest difference between the sides in a stop-start match at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium was the speed of the ball won by the New Zealand forwards – and the mistakes made by the Wallabies as the black shirts came at them.

The result illustrates why the All Blacks are ranked as the number one team in World Rugby and also why they are the Rugby World Champions.


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