Beauden Barrett Rugby World Cup: All Blacks overpower Springboks in bruising clash in Yokohama

Beauden Barrett Rugby World Cup: All Blacks overpower Springboks in bruising clash in Yokohama

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Beauden Barrett All Blacks lock Scott Barrett charges through to score his side's second try against South Africa on Saturday.

HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES

All Blacks lock Scott Barrett charges through to score his side’s second try against South Africa on Saturday.

What a wild rumble in Yokohama.

The All Blacks triumphed 23-13 over the Springboks in the first World Cup pool match in the International Stadium on Saturday night, and in doing so have earned the right to remain the hot favourite to win the Webb Ellis Cup.

Given there’s probably still some rust to be knocked off their game, the All Blacks are likely to add some finesse to their adventurous game-plan during the remainder of their pool games, they will surely take pole position in Pool B for the quarterfinals.

Beauden Barrett All Blacks captain Kieran Read, left, congratulates George Bridge on his first try of the Rugby World Cup.

MIKE HEWITT/GETTY IMAGES

All Blacks captain Kieran Read, left, congratulates George Bridge on his first try of the Rugby World Cup.

Then there’s this business of psychological points.

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This is not hokum pokum. It’s very real. Any team that can secure a victory after a brutal battle like that, which will surely have won over thousands more fans in Japan, has earned the right to strut.

Beauden Barrett All Blacks No 10 Richie Mounga makes a break before being brought down for a penalty, which he converted.

DAN SHERIDAN/INPHO

All Blacks No 10 Richie Mounga makes a break before being brought down for a penalty, which he converted.

The All Blacks snared tries thanks to George Bridge and Scott Barrett in the first half, led 17-3 at the break and then had to withstand a comeback – when the gap was closed to seven points after a try to Pieter-Steph du Toit – before finally closing out the game with penalties to Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett.

So it’s first blood to the All Blacks.

And they deserved this victory. They were too inventive, too daring and, in the end, too physical when it came to shutting down the game in the final minutes.

Beauden Barrett All Blacks midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown, third from left, makes a break through the South African defence.

ADAM PRETTY/GETTY IMAGES

All Blacks midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown, third from left, makes a break through the South African defence.

The impact of the bench players was important too. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen went to it early, bringing on a fresh front row and lock Patrick Tuipulotu for Scott Barrett after halftime.

Sonny Bill Williams also replaced Ryan Crotty and the old head Ben Smith contributed too.

The momentum in the first half didn’t shift in the All Blacks’ favour when left wing George Bridge scored their first try in the 24th minute, or when Barrett grabbed a second three min

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