Rugby Championship 2023: New Zealand see off South Africa 35-20 in Auckland

New Zealand survived a fightback from South Africa to win their Rugby Championship match 35-20 in Auckland.

The All Blacks made a strong start, with tries from Aaron Smith and Shannon Frizell helping them into a 17-0 lead.

A Faf de Klerk penalty got the Springboks off the mark and tries from Malcolm Marx and Cheslin Kolbe reduced the deficit to 23-15.

New Zealand responded with Will Jordan and Richie Mo’unga scores before a late try from South Africa’s Kwagga Smith.

“It’s always physical and an awesome Test match – ones you look forward to,” said All Blacks captain Sam Cane, whose side beat Argentina in their opening Rugby Championship game.

“They are the reigning World Cup champions so we knew it would be a good test to see where we were at as a team.

“We’re pleased to see improvement from last week. We know we’ve still got a way to go to get to where we want to but it was a good Test match.”

Cane did not return after half-time because of injury, while De Klerk had to be replaced because of injury during the second half.

The two teams will next face each other at Twickenham on 25 August in a friendly prior to the Rugby World Cup in France.


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