To­tal Black­out

De Vil­liers: Thrash­ing by New Zealand a new low for South Africa

The Star Malaysia - - Sport -

CAPE TOWN: South Africa’s 57-0 hu­mil­i­a­tion by New Zealand in their Rugby Cham­pi­onship fix­ture in Auck­land shows how far the Spring­boks have fallen, for­mer cap­tain Jean de Vil­liers said.

The record de­feat for the Boks yes­ter­day has been de­scribed on so­cial me­dia as “em­bar­rass­ing” and “shock­ing” by sup­port­ers, as the ram­pant world cham­pi­ons ran in eight tries in a sparkling dis­play of at­tack­ing rugby that had their hap­less op­po­nents floun­der­ing.

“We all thought last year los­ing to the All Blacks by 42 points was a low point and we didn’t think it could get worse. It did to­day. It is very dif­fi­cult to find some­thing pos­i­tive to say about this game,” De Vil­liers told Su­perS­port.

“We need to be hon­est with our­selves, we got out­played in ev­ery sin­gle depart­ment of this game and were beaten by a much bet­ter team.”

The Boks had been un­beaten in six Tests in 2017 hav­ing en­dured their worst-ever sea­son in 2016 when they won only four of their 12 matches.

There had been hope within the team that they had turned the cor­ner, but De Vil­liers says they still have a long way to go to match the New Zealan­ders some two years out from the next Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan.

“When you talk about the im­prove­ment of the South African side, yes they have im­proved, but when they com­pare them­selves to the best in the world there is still a mas­sive gap,” he said.

For­mer coach Nick Mal­lett, who led the Boks to third at the 1999 World Cup, was crit­i­cal of the team in all facets, in­clud­ing the lead­er­ship on the pitch.

“Crit­i­cis­ing this Bok team is like club­bing a baby seal.

“The poor guys are de­fence­less,” Mal­lett said.

“The scrums were a sham­bles in the se­cond half, the li­ne­outs didn’t go well in the first half.

“The re­place­ments didn’t make an im­pact. The scram­ble de­fence was nowhere. The first-up de­fence got worse and worse as the game pro­gressed.

“There isn’t enough lead­er­ship in this team at the mo­ment and cer­tainly not enough skills. Not one Spring­bok would make the All Blacks side.”

The Boks will need to re­group for their next fix­ture, a home clash in Bloem­fontein against Aus­tralia on Sept 30. — Reuters

Awe­some in Auck­land: New Zealand’s Codie Tay­lor scor­ing a try against South Africa in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship match in Auck­land yes­ter­day. New Zealand won 57- 0. — Reuters

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