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Carter saves Kiwis as south dominates north in rugby battles

June 16, 2012 -- Updated 1933 GMT (0333 HKT)
All Blacks star Dan Carter kicks a match-winning drop-goal against Ireland at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday.
All Blacks star Dan Carter kicks a match-winning drop-goal against Ireland at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World champions New Zealand snatch 22-19 victory over Ireland in Christchurch
  • Dan Carter kicks a late drop-goal to give the All Blacks a 2-0 series lead
  • South Africa beat England for the second weekend in a row, winning 36-27
  • Wallabies deny Wales first in in Australia since 1969 with last-gasp penalty

(CNN) -- Southern hemisphere's top three rugby nations completed a clean sweep of victories against their northern counterparts for the second successive weekend on Saturday.

World champions New Zealand held off a late charge from Ireland to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in their three-match series, winning 22-19 in the first international match played in Christchurch since the earthquake that devastated the city in February 2011.

South Africa also took a 2-0 lead against England, triumphing 36-27 in Johannesburg, while Australia edged out Six Nations champions Wales for the second weekend in a row, winning 25-23 in Melbourne.

The All Blacks needed a late drop-goal from star flyhalf Dan Carter, now back in the fold after injury ruled him out of the business end of the World Cup, as both teams scored a try each. The Irish have never beaten the Kiwis in 107 years.

"It was a game we probably shouldn't have won but we showed some great composure," said the Kiwis' new coach Steve Hansen, whose team won 42-10 in the opening match of the series in Auckland.

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The Wallabies also needed late inspiration as replacement Mike Harris kicked a match-winning penalty after the fulltime siren to deny Wales a first win in Australia since 1969.

"We're hugely disappointed, having outscored Australia two tries to one," caretaker Wales coach Rob Howley said.

"We gave them the opportunity through a lack of discipline in those last two minutes which they took."

The Springboks looked set for an impressive win against England, leading by 15 points at halftime.

However, the tourists reduced the deficit to four points before 2007 World Cup-winning winger J.P. Pietersen scored the home team's fourth try to extend their winning run over England to nine matches.

"I think we gave them some easy tries at one stage," Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said. "We played some great rugby in the first half, but credit must go to England for coming back and never giving up."

Bucking the trend, however, Six Nations strugglers Scotland defeated Fiji 37-25, following up the 9-6 win over Australia earlier in their tour.

Argentina were due to host France later on Saturday.

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