RWC: New Zealand hold off South Africa 23-13

Written By: BBC
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Defending champions New Zealand produced a clinical display to hold off a spirited South Africa in their World Cup Pool B opener in Yokohama.

The Springboks started brightly and took the lead with a Handre Pollard penalty before the All Blacks hit back.

Richie Mo’unga drew New Zealand level and two quick tries by George Bridge and Scott Barrett put them in front.

Pieter-Steph du Toit’s try and a Pollard drop-goal made it tense before Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett penalties.

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The result means New Zealand extend their winning run to 15 games in the competition, last losing to France in the 2007 quarter-finals.

South Africa play Namibia next on Saturday, 28 September, while the All Blacks face Canada on 2 October

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Meanwhile, Australia ran in four second-half tries as they fought back to beat Fiji in their opening 2019 World Cup match.

The 2015 finalists were trailing until halfway into the second half before hooker Silatolu Latu went over for two tries inside five minutes.

Peceli Yato’s try gave Fiji an early 8-0 lead, and a shock looked possible when Waisea Nayacalevu scored under the posts early in the second half.

But Australia roared back to end fears of a first loss to Fiji since 1954.

The Wallabies’ next outing in Group D is on Sunday, 29 September, when they face Wales in Tokyo.

Yato was outstanding but was forced off after only 25 minutes with a head injury following a collision with Australia winger Reece Hodge.

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Australia had looked to be finding their feet when Michael Hooper crossed for a try following Yato’s opener, and after Hodge scored in the corner the teams went into half-time with Fiji leading 14-12.

But when Nayacalevu latched onto a loose pass on the halfway line to sprint home just three minutes into the second half, a shock Fiji win was a distinct possibility.

However, Latu’s first international tries, both scored from line-outs, settled Australia nerves before Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete put the two-time World Cup winners comfortably clear.

Finally, France held off a second-half comeback by Argentina to win a gripping World Cup match in Tokyo.

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The Pumas overturned a 20-3 half-time deficit to take a 21-20 lead until Camille Lopez’s drop-goal put France ahead again in the Pool C encounter.

Tries from Gael Fickou and Antoine Dupont gave France the advantage.

Guido Petti and Julian Montoya crossed for the Pumas and Benjamin Urdapilleta’s penalty put them ahead before replacement Lopez struck.

The Pumas, who had lost their previous nine internationals, had another the chance to win it late on, but Emiliano Boffelli’s long-range penalty drifted just wide.

England start their Pool C campaign on Sunday against Tonga, who are Argentina’s next opponents on Saturday, 28 September. France resume when they take on the United States on Wednesday, 2 October.

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