DEFENDING Rugby World Cup champions New Zealand produced a clinical display to hold off a spirited South Africa in their 2019 Rugby 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.
The result means New Zealand extend their winning run to 15 games in the competition, last losing to France in the 2007 quarter-finals.
The South Africans will play Namibia next on Saturdayin the next round of the pool satge.The All Blacks will the face Canada on 2 October.
Namibia is set to open the last of the weekend action when the open their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign against Italy early on Sunday morning. The game is scheduled to start at for 07:15.
Also on Sunday the match between Ireland and Scotland and the match between England and Tonga will round of the action packed rugby weekend.