Boks not reading too much into All Black result

2011-09-10 08:04

Even before the magnificent opening ceremony in Auckland began, the All Blacks knew that their die-hard fans would not be satisfied with anything less than a 70-0 victory against Tonga.

Graham Henry’s men only managed to bank a 41-10 victory in Auckland as they struggled in the second half to maintain the same unforgiving intensity with which they kicked off the seventh edition of the Rugby World Cup.

“I wouldn’t read too much into it and the All Blacks will be happy with it, I’d imagine,” Springbok forwards coach Gary Gold said today.

At the same media scrum, the Bok assistant coach was almost at a loss of words when a local journalist asked him whether the way the host nation played had left the Springboks “in fear and trembling”.

“No I’m not sure about the last part of your question, I think it was a pretty typical performance that you would expect from an opening match,” Gold replied.

“I think there has been an incredible amount of pressure on the All Blacks leading into this tournament and I think it went well until halftime when the game was pretty much in the bag.

“Tonga came out with a lot to prove and a lot of personal pride to play for, they held on to the ball quite well in the second half.

Although it may not have been the best entertainment from a spectators point of view, there was a passage in the last 40 minutes where the Tongans placed the New Zealand pack under tremendous pressure on their own line.

The fact that the hosts did not concede a penalty try was, according to Gold, a sign of commitment within the All Black camp.

“I rate the New Zealand scrum very highly,” he said.

“I think for a number of years now they have a young crop of guys that know what is going on; most notably the Franks brothers.

“It is a difficult situation when you need to scrum the whole time and it is not made easier when you concede penalty after penalty, you get nervous that you are going to give a penalty try away.

“For that period they were a little bit under pressure, but I thought the All Blacks set a very good platform for themselves and it was a good scrum contest.”

Gold said that the try centre Ma’a Nonu scored, after his team had just conceded seven points, reflected the character inside their team.

He added that the All Blacks would take a lot out of their performance and it was clear that certain combinations were still being fine-tuned.

For the South African touring party, the first week was all about adapting to the new time zone while getting used to conditions best suited for sailing.

The Boks were also happy to let the hosts steal the lime-light while they dealt with problems pertaining to the fitness of several key players.

Losing lock Bakkies Botha ahead of the Wales match was a big blow while doubts over Bryan Habana, Victor Matfield and Danie Rossouw were the only other real issues that caused some speculation.

That, and the fact that Wales coach Warren Gatland said that the Boks don’t play rugby.

“What is it that we keep beating them in,” an official told Sapa.

It was almost as if the Boks could go about doing their business without any hassles and far less pressure than the men in black.

“Ours is a personal internal pressure and ours is a responsibility to a country who have been so fantastic in their support to our team,” Gold said.

“By and large there’s not a lot of people who give us much of a chance with our recent form and how things have gone in the Tri-Nations, so I think the pressure that I’m comparing it to is a host nation who last had it here 24 years ago.

They need to win it. Nothing less will suffice.”

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