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All Blacks 57 - 0 Springbok

by Supersport
16 Sep 2017 at 12:18hrs | Views
The All Blacks eclipsed their record for a winning margin against a Springbok team that was notched the previous time these teams met as they routed their old foe 57-0 in a Castle Lager Rugby Championship match at QBE Stadium in Albany on Saturday.

It was a humiliating 80 minutes for a Bok team that had gone into the game unbeaten after six matches. They had high hopes that this would be their moment where they would show just how far they have travelled since the Kings Park massacre last October, when they lost 57-15.

Ironically, New Zealand managed the same number of points in this match. But the failure of the Boks to get 15 meant that this time the winning margin was 57, which eclipsed that previous record of 42. That has happened in two consecutive matches, and it can't get more horrible than that for the Boks.

The real story of this game was that the All Blacks got off to a flyer and it led to the Kiwis, once they were ahead and had momentum, producing their best performance of the season. Before this game there were questions about whether the All Blacks were in decline. Perhaps Kieran Read's men got irritated by that, for in this match they produced a sustained 80 minutes that confirmed their position as No 1 in the world.

It was almost as if everything was in line for the All Blacks in this match where it hadn't been earlier in the season. Beauden Barrett has produced some shocking place-kicking performances, and it probably cost them the win in the series against the British and Irish Lions, but in this game he was on target with all but one kick at goal.

If you didn't see the game and just look at the scoreline you might think that the Boks just didn't pitch and that it was a similar match to the Kings Park landslide. But it wasn't like that. It was debatable whether you could really even say the Boks started slowly.

They didn't. They started off confidently, winning the early territory battle, getting a free kick off the first scrum and then monstering the second, and the first All Black lineout went against the throw. The Boks were physical in the early exchanges and the positive vibe about the selection for this game, with Jean-Luc du Preez on the flank, looked like it was going to be vindicated.

But it is hardly rugby rocket science to suggest that the key against the All Blacks is that you take your opportunities and that you keep mistakes to a minimum. In the initial phase of the match, with the Boks manning up physically and putting in the big tackles, it was the All Blacks who made more handling errors.

But Elton Jantjies missed his first kick at posts – in fact his only kick at posts as it turned out – in the seventh minute. It was a kick he should have succeeded with as it was from the middle of the field. That appeared to be the cue for the little mistakes to start creeping into the Bok game. It started with Andries Coetzee kicking directly into touch after Raymond Rhule had carried the ball back.

From that territorial position the All Blacks applied the pressure that won them their first penalty and Barrett succeeded where Jantjies had failed. You have to be wide awake against New Zealand, particularly when they are in the clinical mood they were in during this game. Three minutes after the All Blacks had taken the lead it was suddenly 10-0 as Aaron Smith took a little tap penalty and executed a perfect grubber kick that Rieko Ioane chased down to score in the corner.

Perhaps the score that killed the game, and precipitated the lack of composure that led to the big halftime score (31-0), was the intercept try scored on the 20-minute mark by Nehe Milner-Skudder. The Boks looked troubled by the All Black linespeed when they were attacking with the possession they enjoyed in the first quarter. Sure enough, as the Boks built up towards the All Black 22, a Jean-Luc du Preez pass fell into the hands of the All Black wing, who ended up scoring after switching with Barrett.

The Barrett conversion made it 17-0, the exact score that the Wallabies were leading by at a similar stage of the game a few weeks ago in Dunedin. The All Blacks came back in that match, but you don't come back against the All Blacks, who are renowned for their ability to crank it up in the second half. So it was effectively game, set and match with an hour to go.

Perhaps that was why the Boks really appeared to lose it after that. Lose composure that it. They made some mistakes early, and the lineouts were a shambles throughout, but in the last stages of the first half it became a slew of errors, with the Boks not being able to hold onto the ball in contact and the Kiwis punishing them with impunity.

The match stats after half an hour actually reflected that the Boks had spent twice as long in the All Black 22, which tells you from how deep the All Black attacks came. The New Zealand centres hardly saw the ball in the first 40 minutes, and the Boks enjoyed more than 60 percent possession up to the 30th minute. It was just a case of the All Blacks punishing mistakes, something they are past masters at.

The Bok defensive discipline went walkabout once they were forced to start chasing the game, with players coming out of line, and that helped the All Black passage to complete dominance. In the 33rd minute any hopes of a Bok comeback were extinguished when Beauden Barrett launched a cross kick that Francois Hougaard knocked on and replacement loose-forward Scott Barrett ended up romping over in the corner.

Barrett converted to make it 24-0 and then came the most glaring Bok defensive error of the half as an Ioane surge through a disorganised defensive system and some good support from hooker Dane Coles led to a try for lock Brodie Retallick.

The Boks were staring into a black hole, and they never got out of it in a second half where the All Black dominance just became more and more pronounced as the Bok heads dropped. The changes made to the pack this time didn't help, they made it worse, with the changed front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane being pummelled in the scrums. By the time last week's man of the match, Pieter-Steph du Toit, came on, the All Black dominance was too complete for him to be able to make any difference.

The scrums were solid early but disintegrated later, and the physical intent of the Boks at the collisions in the first half gave way in the second. Conversely, the All Blacks were relentless and, unlike in Sydney earlier in the season when they took their foot off the accelerator after running up a big halftime lead, they sustained the pressure right through to the end.

SCORES

New Zealand 57 – Tries: Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder 2, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Cody Taylor and Lima Sopoaga; Conversions: Beauden Barrett 7; Penalty: Barrett.

South Africa 0

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