Second half: total blackout

2012-10-06 19:43

All Blacks show Springboks who’s boss.

South Africa (16) 16

New Zealand (12) 32

Like Julius Caesar, they have come, they have seen and yet again they have conquered the Highveld.

No side can turn it on like the men in black and when they were under the cosh, they responded in kind like the World Champions they are.

It is a 45th birthday Heyneke Meyer would rather forget, but one subliminal lesson he could have taken out was the ability to take opportunities when they presented themselves. It was something he lamented.

“You can never beat New Zealand by chasing the game because they force you into mistakes and they captilise,” he said.

“In the first half I thought we did enough to put them under pressure. I knew if we did well in the first 10 minutes in the second half then we will be in with a shot because they were tiring and they were running backwards. it’s a totally new game when they were ahead.”

New Zealand only ever had six or seven sorties in the Bok 22 as compared to the countless ones the hosts had. Those sorties lead to four tries and at the end of the day, they were the difference.

New Zealand only won their first penalty in the 55th minute.

That was credit to the Bok discipline, not Alain Rolland’s officiating, who besides giving Israel Dagg a yellow card for an early tackle, was on the edge of leniency towards the visitors.

Richie McCaw was his main beneficiary, with his will having his way at ruck time.

He is indeed the Jacob Zuma of rugby; no charges can stick to him.

And when they were ahead, they were sizzling and did not look like they would relinquish the lead.What they did not expect to encounter was a ferocious Bok forward that gave the backs an excellent platform to attack.

Johan Goosen never looked like he was fit enough to start and the lack of confidence in his fitness seeped into his kicking as he missed two early opportunities.

However, his attacking play was not bereft in the 33 minutes he was on.

In that passage, the Boks found perfect rhythm and were full value for an excellent Bryan Habana try that originated from an Eben Etzebeth lineout.
An All Black fight back was around the corner and it is quality coach Steve Hansen said he admired about his team.

“I think our mental state is great and I think we are well led. We’ve got a guy who has won 100 Test matches and whose got great mental strength,” he said.

“We’ve challenged ourselves to take on the first challenge of the opponent and the second challeng of ourselves. We haven’t got our challenge nailed yet but we are working towards it and getting better.”

However, that was the poke that awakened the sleeping giant that is New Zealand who strangely, kicked more than the Springboks would ever dream off.

Their kicks found space while the Bok bombs didn’t.

When a stray kick by Jaco Taute found the menacing Dagg, it was a Christmas pie in October for the best fullback as he initiated a languid but corrosive counter attack saw Sam Whitelock cross over in the corner.

For all the Bok dominance, they only had 5-point lead to show for their 25 minutes of fame.

Aaron Smith’s try highlighted the All Black’s ability to live off scraps and find overlaps where others can’t.

Habana was partly to blame as he seeked glory going for the intercept instead of guts for the tackle.

Three turnovers before, the Boks were in New Zealand’s 22 before de Villiers coughed up in contact.

Elton Jantjies’ first Test points via two penalties ensured the slim lead.

The second half brought home the realities of South Africa’s shortcomings.

Ma’a Nonu’s try was embarrassingly easy display of All Black smash and grab rugby.

Conrad Smith’s try off first phase ball signified New Zealand’s dominance.

No international side worth its salt should concede a try from a scrum, but such is Dagg’s aesthetic brilliance in creating an overlap, as he did in Whitelock’s and Aaron Smith’s try, it was rugby made easy.

Who knows what kind of carnage could have been wrought if they brought their A-game.

Scorers:

South Africa:

Try: Bryan Habana

Conversion: Johan Goosen

Penalties: Goosen, Elton Jantjies (2)

New Zealand:

Tries: Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith

Conversions: Dan Carter (3)

Penalties: Carter

Drop goal: Carter

How the Boks rated against New Zealand
15. Zane Kirchner: 6/10
He was very cool under the high ball as New Zealand looked to kick more. The space he had from last week was shut down by an effective defence.
14. Bryan Habana: 7.5/10
He was South Africa’s best back of the day. Was at fault for the second try as the intercept did not come off. Did well to finish off an excellent try and looked for work wherever it was.
13. Jaco Taute: 3/10
Missed tackles and holding on when there was space highlighted a poor game for the youngster. His wayward kick led to New Zealand’s first try.
12. Jean de Villiers (captain): 5/10
Was brilliant in South Africa’s only try and manned the defence well. As New Zealand upped the tempo, he gradually disappeared from the game.
11. Francois Hougaard: 2/10
Did nothing of note.
10. Johan Goosen: 6/10
Threatened to steal the thunder. His injuries are affecting his kicking confidence.
9. Ruan Pienaar: 6/10
Had a Jekyll and Hyde match where some excellent snipes around the fringes were spoilt by some laboured passing, which cost the Boks some crucial momentum.
8. Duane Vermeulen: 6/10
Was not as rumbustious as last week, but Kieran Read often outplays his opposition number eights. Did his fair share of tight work.
7. Willem Alberts: 6.5/10
Like Vermeulen, he was outshone by his All Black counterpart Liam Messam, but in a pack that did get its due reward from the backs, he was outstanding.
6. Francois Louw 7/10
If you attract attention from Richie McCaw, there is some groundwork you are doing right. Was let down by Alain Rolland more than by his teammates.
5. Andries Bekker : 6.5/10
Deserves a 7 for the excellent work and general work ethic. He is shedding off his backline tendencies, but he went missing from battle when the heat was on.
4. Eben Etzebeth: 8/10
Easily the most impressive Bok forward. Did not play an open game as last week, but bossed the tight exchanges and made his fair share of tackles.
3. Jannie du Plessis: 6/10
Does not offer much in terms of open field play, but scrummed very well and adequate at ruck time.
2. Adriaan Strauss: 8/10
This was his best game in a Bok jersey and was not cowed by the tall All Black jumpers. Was very physical. Finally showed a ball-to-the-ground game.
1. Tendai Mtawarira: 6/10
Had a quiet game with a few runs by his standards. Scrummed excellently and was not outmuscled at ruck time.

Substitutes:

16. Tiaan Liebenberg: Not on the field enough to be rated.
17. Coenie Oosthuizen: 6/10
Was a bit rusty after some time out with injury. Was not asked to do much as the game had opened up.
18. Flip van der Merwe: 6/10
Did not do much differently from Etzebeth, but came on at a time when the Bok pack was on the back foot.
19. Marcell Coetzee: Was not on long enough to be rated.
20. Elton Jantjies: 6/10
Finally had an extended run, but in a backline that lacked direction he was caught up in the maelstrom. The one direct touch finder sullied his contribution.
21. Juan de Jongh: Not on long enough to be rated.
22. Patrick Lambie: 6/10
A lack of ball stifled his counter attacking nous, but was generally solid and could do with a start has he offers a different kicking option.

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