All Blacks were ripe for the picking

Devin Hermanus

There has been plenty of backslapping for the Springboks, following a memorable 25-24 defeat to the All Blacks on Saturday, and just three weeks on from their infamous 57-0 drubbing in Albany.

The monstrous Malcolm Marx led the charge at Newlands with captain Eben Etzebeth and fellow tight-five brutes Steven Kitshoff and Pieter-Steph du Toit adding to the stampede. The All Blacks would’ve awoken on Sunday with the bruises to prove it.

“They came forward, attacked the gain-line and put us under pressure with their big bodies for longer periods than in Albany,” All Blacks captain Kieran Read said after the match.

It was a much-improved performance from the Boks, and will give them confidence for the end-of-year tour to Europe.

But for all the positive feedback from the Kiwis, before and after the final whistle, how seriously did the All Blacks take Saturday’s game?

With the Rugby Championship title in the bag, the visitors treated their build-up to the dead-rubber Test like a holiday, with visits to Camps Bay, posing for photos with locals and signing autographs at shopping malls in the Mother City.

Nehe Milner-Skudder’s audacious, behind-the-back pass in the opening stanza smacked of arrogance from the ‘humble’ world champions, who were happy to put on a show for their fans – until the scoreline looked like it might leave them with egg on their faces and Damian McKenzie saved blushes with a brilliant solo score.

“We saw that if everyone is in the right mindset, the Boks are a very good team, and what it showed us is we’ve got to be in the right mindset when we play them or we’re vulnerable,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

Both teams, unnecessarily, played on for more than 10 minutes after the halftime hooter. Milner-Skudder dislocated his shoulder during that period and Read confirmed that “egos got in the way of a smart decision” to kick the ball out.

It’s unlikely the All Blacks would’ve kept the clock ticking if more than pride had been on the line.

Bok coach Allister Coetzee has, true to form, hauled out every platitude in his bag of excuses after Saturday’s one-point loss: “it’s a process, pleasing comeback, we believe in ourselves and our plan, we’re on the right track, losses won’t define us, we’re in it to win it.”

But none of that saw the Boks take advantage of an All Blacks side that was ripe for the picking at Newlands.

- Devin Hermanus

Let's chat

  • Hopeful

    Say it like it is Mr columnist, you are correct….we lost a game that we should’ve won and anyone who says we should be happy with the improvement should relegate themselves to watching social touch rugby…

    The All Blacks came in arrogant and left winners….How in hells name can you allow that on home soil…

    However…that being said….liked the grunt from a few of the lads and some good old fashioned aggression…

    • Max

      That old fashioned aggression is called rugby my friend. This game is called rugby and not 15 a side.Where are the AB greats now. As a team they gel ,but disrupt their gameplan with hard tackles and powerplay, their greats fall short.

      • Hopeful

        Exactly…’s what I’ve always said…..fancy footwork and showmanship seldom wins games….you have to front up, show intelligence and take the opportunities…

  • Logan

    Have to agree, we should have been playing this rugby in last years end of year tour. To many spectators in the BOKS squad and no succession planning. Only reason why this poor coach is escaping is because losing by 1 point is good enough when during other times we would have called for the coaches head.

    Meyer lost to the all Blacks by 2 points in the semi but went on to claim 3rd but still lost his job

  • Max

    Logan you guys screamed for Brendan and Franco to “help” him. Who’s out of their league now? I think you out of you you league too. Dont watch.

  • Tiaan de Jager Tiaan de Jager

    You know all of you guys are so Fn critical of the team yet they did what no one expected they came within an inch of beating the much proclaimed best team in the world yeah its still a loss but id much rather have spectacle like Saturday than a match like the one we had against Australia. Give credit where its due and stop being so bloody negative we are getting better as a team so keep it at that…….

    • hopefull

      I agree we all tend to be very critical and yes some massive improvement…but we can’t be silent on the truth…that doesn’t give anyone a right to attack players families or players on a personal level….that includes their race…by all means question their performance as a player.

      Our back three let us down once again….there is something seriously out of sync with our nine to thirteen channel….

      Elton has the heart of a champ but he hasn’t exactly stamped his authority….how many chances will be given?

      AC was quick to sideline key players…..why not so quick to change underperforming ones?

    • Wesley

      Thanks Tiaan, true bud! We like to be negative, get personal, call players by absurd derogatory nicknames, scream quota when a player of colour play one bad game, boo them when they do poorly, and even attack their families when we have the chance. We can ask what is wrong with SA rugby yes, we as supporters have that right to ask the right questions, but to get unashamedly negative and bash all left right and center is just poor form. I myself have questions about the performance of AC and bash Brendan a bit for falling in the twitter trap, but respect them as humans and as professionals still.

  • Wesley

    SA rugby likes to “fire” coaches only after a world cup. Jake won it, still lost his job. Hence the succession planning or proper accountability is non-existent. Too late to fire AC now, but the accountability can still be implemented. Brendan Twitterman Venter should stay off social media. AC now has his team of coaches (don’t know until when again, usual SA rugby bungles) he should now be performing, no excuses. Newlands was a good start, now with the intensity they had there should we smash year-end tour out the park, England included. Choose the best players (Combrink, RJvR, please! Keep Ruhle home, Leyds did nothing wrong), direct physical hard running rugby like this weekend with some good backline flair (would happen if best players were chosen). Lets get back playing to our strengths!

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