Oh no, Boks!

2013-10-06 10:00

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Boks manage to score the four tries, but can’t keep All Blacks off the whitewash

The All Blacks underscored their status as the masters of the rugby universe by convincingly beating the Springboks at Ellis Park yesterday to retain the Castle Rugby Championship.

In a match that will be recorded as a classic, the Springboks did manage to score the four tries for the crucial bonus point that had been their goal at the start, but in the end they could not match the slick skills and unremitting attacking play of the All Blacks.

The Boks produced some scintillating plays and showed a heartening appetite to run the ball.

But coach Heyneke Meyer and this team have a long way to go before they will be able to best their arch rugby enemies and be real contenders at the next World Cup.

Since winning the Tri Nations in 2009, the Boks now have just one victory in nine matches against the current world champions.

With a sell-out crowd abuzz with anticipation, there were shades of the 1995 World Cup final at the start as an SAA passenger jetliner made three thundering passes over of the stadium with the words “Go Bokke” legible on its undercarriage.

A hiss of derision greeted the All Blacks as they ran out, followed by a deafening “Beeeasst!” roar as Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira was given the honour of leading the Springboks on to the field to earn his 50th test cap.

The Springboks drew first blood when Morné Steyn kicked a penalty, but the All Blacks scored the first try, an omen of what was to come.

Although the Springboks had some promising moments – especially when Jean de Villiers was worked free on the right – it was the New Zealanders who brought to bear the required accuracy when opportunities presented themselves.

Juandré Kruger failed to hold a kickoff and the ball was scooped up by Charlie Faumuina to launch the attack. When Duane Vermeulen badly missed a tackle on Kieran Read, the All Blacks were in behind the Boks. Ben Smith scored.

It was a telling reminder to the Springboks not to make mistakes against a team so skilled at counterattack.

It fell to the most prolific scorer of tries in green-and-gold as Bryan Habana raced in for two tries in quick succession. For the first, Duane Vermeulen made amends for his earlier lapse.

He stepped inside Ma’a Nonu and beat Faumuina before sending the winger speeding away to the goal line.

For the next, it was another loose forward who made the key play as Francois Louw broke through Hore’s tackle and got his hands through to feed Habana, who chipped and chased to put the Boks into a 15-7 lead.

Then there was a blow for the Boks when they lost their talisman. Habana dropped back to catch a mark and immediately clutched at this hamstring. He had to be led off.

A spirited Mexican wave rippled through the crowd but it was the All Blacks who gained the initiative – signalling their intention to score four tries and secure the championship with a bonus point.

Jannie du Plessis again committed a defensive error as he missed his tackle on Sam Whitelock, allowing the All Blacks to mass on the Boks’ line and drive Liam Messam over for his team’s second try.

The Boks were determined to chase tries and eschewed chances to kick to the posts.

The All Blacks weathered a period of concerted attack and Messam’s second try silenced the crowd.

His score gave the Kiwis a 21-15 lead at the break.

Uncharacteristically, the Boks tried to run the ball in their own 22. JJ Engelbrecht cut inside and lost the ball.

Once again, the visitors were just too quick as they made space for the flanker down the left.

The Boks returned from the break determined to win or die trying and had the crowd on the edge of their seats as tries by Willie le Roux and Jean de Villiers gave them back the lead at 27-24.

But they were unable to prevent the All Blacks getting their vital fourth try.

Sadly, it was De Villiers who missed the tackle that allowed replacement fly half Beauden Barrett to wriggle free and race to the line to score the try that meant the All Blacks could no longer lose the Rugby Championship.

Next, Kieran Read was over. The score ballooned to 38-27 in favour of Richie McCaw’s men?...?and that was that.

How the game panned out

11:?Juandré Kruger’s failure to collect at the kickoff after a Morné Steyn penalty leads to Ben Smith’s try. Willem Alberts also misses a crucial tackle on Kieran Read, who makes the final pass to Smith

20:?A contested highball is well recycled by South Africa, which leads to Bryan Habana’s second try. Francois Louw’s deft pass in a tackle eliminates two defenders

26:?Jannie du Plessis’ second crucial missed tackle allows Sam Whitelock to create the momentum for Liam Messam’s try. Du Plessis misses a further tackle on Aaron Smith in the same cycle of play

55:?Siya Kolisi’s try line tackle on Ma’a Nonu prevents the bonus-point try, which would kill the game for the Springboks

58:?Jean de Villiers scores the bonus-point try after excellent phase play by the Boks

61:?Zane Kirchner’s touch finder from outside the 22 goes into touch directly, setting up an attacking platform for New Zealand.

De Villiers misses a crucial tackle on Beauden Barrett, who scores the All Blacks’ bonus-point try.

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