'No team's ever played a perfect game' - Lood keeps Boks grounded after impressive NZ slaying

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  • Lood de Jager believes no team's ever played the perfect game, no matter how impressive the Springboks were in Mbombela.
  • The Boks lapped up plaudits for their comprehensive 26-10 win over the All Blacks in Mpumalanga.
  • De Jager said the intense outing resulted in both sets "sucking diesel" in search of oxygen last weekend.

The Springboks might have lapped up the plaudits from their first home win over the All Blacks in eight years in Mbombela but they don't believe they played the perfect game.

Lood de Jager believes the concept is non-existent in the sport anyway, no matter how impressive they were in their 26-10 win in Mpumalanga.

The Boks scored two tries, dominating at least 70 minutes of play before New Zealand hit back through Shannon Frizell when SA was already a man down after Kurt-Lee Arendse's sending-off.

READ | Teenage marvel Moodie emotional after making Springbok squad: 'He was in tears, man'

Jacques Nienaber's charges neutered the All Black counter-attacking threat. And when the visitors had clean breaks, very few led to meaningful attacks, bar Caleb Clarke's burst that resulted in their only try.

"The thing with rugby is, I don't think there's ever been a team that's played the perfect game," said De Jager, who was crucial in the lineout.

"It's a game with a lot of collisions, a lot of moving parts and you don't always get everything right.

"We strive to play the best game possible but there will always be things in rugby you can work on and that's why, this week, we will take a hard look at ourselves, where we were good and be better in those areas.

"And put a big emphasis on the areas that we feel we can really improve on and try our best to put on our best performance on Saturday."

Teams:

South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche 

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Willie le Roux

New Zealand

TBA

While they dominated the first hour, some Springboks could be seen panting and gasping for air in Mbombela, especially when the game became loose.

The teams hadn't played each other during Super Rugby, as was the norm before Covid.

But since then, there's been a huge element of the unknown when the two old foes clash, something De Jager said made for an intense outing, with both sets "sucking diesel" in search of oxygen.

"They don't play South African teams that bring that mauling and confrontations and we don't play teams that play that expansively anymore," the No 5 lock said.

"The way the game went in the first half, it was long passages of ball in play. And when the ball was in play, it was at a very high intensity.

"We tried to enforce our game on them, which was mauling and the confrontations, which we believe work.

"They tried to turn that back on us by playing a more expansive game using the quality players they have and the offloads.

"It was almost like, we tried to enforce our game and when they got the ball, they tried to enforce theirs. It made for a very high-intensity affair when the ball was in play.

"I think both sides had times when they were sucking diesel out there trying to catch your breath."

The Boks and All Blacks meet again in a rematch at Ellis Park this Saturday (17:05).

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