All Blacks cruise into final

  • No way through: Italy showed plenty of ambition in attack, but struggled to breach the intimidating All Blacks defence (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Rugby Classic (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Classic All Blacks booked themselves a place in the World Rugby Classic final with a convincing 24-12 win over Italy at North Field last night.

First-half tries from scrum half Billy Fulton and wing Filimoni Botitu put New Zealand in control of the semi-final clash.

They stretched to a comfortable 19-0 lead within minutes of the second half when Sherwyn Stowers broke free to touch down.

The Azzurri offered plenty of ambition in attack, but the wall of All Black defence quickly extinguished any chance of an upset. Despite the deficit, the Italians kept coming and reaped rewards for their endeavours with a Michael Denbee score that cut the lead to 19-7.

But the respite was short lived and the Kiwis quickly re-established their dominance with a William Walker try.

Italy came again with a final score but it was a case of too little too late as the Kiwis ran out victors and will now face the Classic Pumas in tomorrow night’s final.

Meanwhile, in a marathon Plate semi-final the Springboks broke USA Classic Eagles hearts with a penalty in sudden death extra time to clinch a 24-21 win.

The Springboks, who finished with just 13 men after two red cards in a tetchy affair, snatched victory with a penalty 15 minutes into extra time.

But it was the Eagles who captured the imagination of the crowd with their never-say-die attitude and attacking intent.

The South Africans started the brightest with a converted Trichardt Van Tonder try after just ten minutes.

But the Eagles came surging back into the game with a well-worked Max De Achaval try.

Andrew Suniula then put the Eagles ahead with a sharp interception try, only for US stalwart Todd Cleaver to cross for the Springboks and level the scores at 14-14 at half-time.

The sides traded blows with a try a piece in the second half sending the game into a dramatic period of extra time.

The teams could not be separated after the regulation ten minutes, despite both sides having penalty chances to put the game to bed.

And so it fell to Monty Dumond to settle the affair and put South Africa into the final of the Plate competition where they will play the Classic Lions.