Boks did us all a mas­sive favour

The Southland Times - - Sport -

Over­seas crit­ics have hailed the All Blacks’ loss to the Spring­boks as ‘‘the re­sult world rugby needed’’ with the world cham­pi­ons panned for spurn­ing a match win­ning drop goal at­tempt.

Ben Coles made those claims in London’s Daily Tele­graph, say­ing: ‘‘Af­ter the Bri­tish and Lions won the sec­ond test in Welling­ton last year, South Africa raided the same venue to­day for their first vic­tory over the All Blacks in New Zealand for nine years.

‘‘One image summed up his side’s ef­fort: the sight of a sob­bing Pi­eterSteph du Toit af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle over­come by the mag­ni­tude of what the Spring­boks had achieved. The flanker con­trib­uted 28 of South Africa’s eye-wa­ter­ing tally of 226 tack­les, a large por­tion of those stem­ming from a des­per­ate de­fen­sive stand in the clos­ing stages when they were down to 14 men. New Zealand by con­trast made only 46 tack­les in the en­tire test.

‘‘The All Blacks’ many mis­takes would have been ren­dered in­signif­i­cant had Beau­den Bar­rett or Damian McKen­zie re­mained in the pocket for a drop goal in the fi­nal min­utes.

‘‘Why nei­ther player stayed in po­si­tion for the win­ning strike re­mains a mys­tery. The sit­u­a­tion screamed out for a drop goal.’’

Nigel Bother­way, writ­ing in The Times, claimed South Africa did world rugby ‘‘a mas­sive favour’’ by ‘‘prov­ing that New Zealand can be beaten: that the pre­vi­ously in­vin­ci­ble men in black are mere mor­tals af­ter all’’.

‘‘The All Blacks are still a truly amaz­ing team. At first they tore the Spring­boks apart, but then they fell apart, gift­ing their vis­i­tors two tries that were the equiv­a­lent of own goals.’’

Mahlatse Mphahlele said in South Africa’s Sun­day Times that the Spring­boks ‘‘pulled off a stun­ning per­for­mance char­ac­terised by grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion’’. ‘‘Though the Boks were im­pres­sive for this bonus-point vic­tory, they partly have All Blacks fly­half Beau­den Bar­rett to thank as he missed four easy con­ver­sions that could have proved the dif­fer­ence.’’

Jon Doel, writ­ing for Wales On­line, said South Africa had ‘‘pulled of one of the great­est vic­to­ries in re­cent rugby mem­ory’’.

‘‘The Boks had lost 57-0 to the same op­po­nents just a year be­fore and hadn’t beaten New Zealand away from home for nine years.

‘‘But that all changed [in Welling­ton] amid as­ton­ish­ing scenes.

‘‘Many com­men­ta­tors and fans are de­scrib­ing it as the re­sult the sport des­per­ately needed as the awe­some All Blacks ma­chine fi­nally came un­stuck af­ter nine con­sec­u­tive wins.’’

Craig Lewis, from South Africa Rugby Mag­a­zine, said the Welling­ton up­set was a ‘‘clas­sic’’ and ‘‘a game and re­sult for the ages’’.

‘‘The Boks came into this clash af­ter suf­fer­ing two suc­ces­sive losses and fac­ing an All Blacks team that they had only man­aged to beat in one of their last 12 meet­ings. His­tory and all ex­pec­ta­tions were against them.

‘‘Yet, af­ter 80 min­utes of bru­tal, beau­ti­ful test-match rugby, tears would flow from a Bok team that wrote a piece of his­tory in Welling­ton.

GETTY IMAGES

Beau­den Bar­rett, cen­tre, re­flects on a frus­trat­ing night when his goal­kick­ing misses proved costly as the All Blacks lost 36-34 to South Africa in Welling­ton.

Ch­es­lin Kolbe and the Spring­boks turned world rugby up­side down with their win.

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