South Africa 31 New Zealand 19
The Springboks circled their wagons and fought off the sheep shagging hordes to register a convincing win over an error riddled All Black team who’s mojo certainly isn’t working. Be warned Wallabies, this Bokke side is the real deal.
On the back of a match winning performance by Morné Steyn, who in South Africa is the new black, the Springboks spent the last 20 minutes entirely in All Black territory squeezing the life out of them. During this match Steyn kicked eight goals, one conversion and scored their only try in a dominant performance.
In fact his goal kicking and accurate kicking in general play reminded me very much of former All Black Grant Fox at his peak. Speaking of which Foxy, TJ and the most annoying commentator on the box (next to resident ‘experts’ Muzza Mexted and Nasty Booter) Nisbo, were this week’s commentary team. Talk about whingeing poms, well, south sea poms.
The poor Welsh referee Nigel (the only gay in the village) was hammered mercilessly by this bunch. Whether they subconsciously felt threatened by Nigel’s sexuality or not I don’t know, but every decision was second guessed. Funnily enough, when they watched the particular action on replay, more often than not they had to swallow their words as Nigel was proven right. I liked the cut of Nigel’s jib and the way he held himself, especially his shapely and attractive physique, and sensitive manner….which I found myself disarmingly attracted to….mmmmm.
The All Blacks began proceedings by wheeling out their alternative away playing strip, Kapo O Pango, minus the blood curdling throat slitting actions. Perhaps they removed this part of the haka with due deference to Nigel’s sensitive nature. The crowd was more respectful of this war dance in Durbs than in Bloem, which may have been due to less Van der Merwe’s per square km than in the OFS.
The Springboks played this match to their strengths, a strong set piece and an accurate kicking game. The conditions were not conducive to free flowing rugby with rain falling before and during the match. They went to the air frequently and fed off All Black mistakes. There was a certain programmatic specificity about all this.
The Poedal Faker (Snor) got it right again for the second week running. He left the starting team on the park for most of the game and only started substituting at the 64 minute mark. Like tasty biltong, the replacements were a winner. The fresh legs helped to keep the All Blacks pinned in their own quarter as they tried to run their way out. The Bokke’s defensive effort was outstanding as the Kiwi’s were hoisted on their own petard.
Again, the Springbok loose forwards were tremendous with this week Pierre Spies being the standout. Brussow continues to shine and I still can’t see any way back for Schalla. The Beast scrummed well and gave Owen Franks an early lesson. One of the highlights of the match was The Beast on the charge; how fast is this guy? He was like a rhino on heat and made Richard Bands’ celebrated sprint to the tryline look positively pedestrian.
The Springbok kicking game was at its best with Steyn, Steyn and du Preez raining a constant barrage of mortar rounds at the hapless Kiwi wingers. It was like the Rocket Man and Sivivatu had morphed into Drew Mitchell (or ‘White Wendell’ as he was once colloquially known) i.e. they dropped most of them. In fact, Sivivatu would have been about as comfortable as a wife beater in a women’s shelter. These mistakes placed huge pressure on the All Black defence and kept them on the back foot, especially in the latter part of the match.
The Springboks were on attack in the early stages and opened the scoring with a Steyn penalty. Donald obliged a few minutes later for a ruck penalty to even it up. In the 12th minute Isaac Ross finished off a quick passing move that had originated back down in the NZ 22 with a great try, converted by Donald. 10-3 to the All Blacks. Kaino was penalised a couple of times for not binding at the scrum and Steyn was successful with his kicks. With the ABs leading 10-9 JP was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle quickly followed by Isaac Ross for a professional foul. The score was now 13-12 to the All Blacks.
In the 37th minute Morné Steyn finished off some sustained Bokke pressure, as du Preez snatched a loose ball from an All Black defensive scrum and Steyn ran through to score. He converted his own try and a subsequent penalty took the halftime score to 22-13. The All Black lineout had again been a shambles and their mistake rate around the park was building. South Africa had 65% of the territory and 53% of possession in this half. The scrums were fairly even after a few early collapses and resets; however, the All Black scrum gained a little dominance later in the first half. This swung back to the Springboks after halftime.
Bakkies was yellow carded for being Bakkies early in the second half. Donald kicked the penalty 22-16. Steyn kicked another for an All Black misdemeanour 25-16. Luke McAlister was substituted for Donald, who had a ‘Barry Crocker’ and will inevitably be replaced for the next test by a fit-again Dan Carter. McAlister and Steyn then traded penalties to take the score to 28-19. The All Black mistake rate was mounting with passes to nobody, knock-on’s aplenty and dropped balls from high kicks. Weepu, who had come on for Cowan, epitomised it all by throwing a Burgess-like pass over the head of McAlister in-goal. La crème de la crème. Afoa was penalised for pulling back in a scrum and Steyn kicked his final goal for a 31-19 win.
For the All Blacks, Donald was a disaster and Cowan was unable to crank up his Eden Park form. Many others were anonymous. Captain Richie got through a mountain of work and was one of the best. Conrad Smith was busy, as was So’oialo but his mistake rate was high. I’d imagine there’ll be substantive changes for the next test in addition to Carter.
For the Boks, Spies and Brussow as mentioned. Smit, Beast and Bakkies were the engine room with du Preez and Jacques Fourie standouts in the backs. Morné Steyn got all the glory and rightly so. It’s the first time in 33 years that the Springboks have defeated the All Blacks twice in a row. The final stats indicated a complete dominance with 72% of the territory and 56% of possession. Their tactics were (as described in the Australian the other day quoting a rugby league player) ‘not rocket medicine’.