All Blacks ‘were not at the races’
HOWEVER, RASSIE GOT SUBSTITUTIONS WRONG
The term “ordinary” is not normally associated with the All Blacks, but that’s exactly how they were made to look at Loftus Versfeld last week, according to former Springbok centre Brendan Venter.
After the Boks led the entire game, the All Blacks clinched victory in the last minute through a converted try by flank Ardie Savea, and Venter believed the hosts had made the New Zealanders look very beatable.
“I had never before seen the All Blacks dominated by any team as much as they were against the Springboks at Loftus,” said Venter.
The SA team probably did world rugby a favour by exposing flaws in the Kiwi system, and the revival of Bok rugby had become a reality under coach Rassie Erasmus, but Venter also joined the debate on the much-talked-about late replacements.
“Rugby is a game of flow and feel and in the first five minutes, as a starter or reserve, it’s difficult to catch your breath,” said Venter, who played in two World Cups for South Africa and collected 17 caps between 1994 and 1999.
“Thereafter, you are able to get into the game and play well.”
With the Boks facing a daunting tour to Europe next month, Venter believed a replacement could not deliver a proper job by being given just a few minutes on the field.
“In my opinion, Erasmus should have brought some bench players on with 20 minutes remaining in the Test,” he said.
“Because they would then have made an impact like modern-day finishers are supposed to.
“I’m sure Erasmus will acknowledge the substitutions he made were not well thought out.”
Venter, who played a lot of rugby at the Cheetahs with Erasmus, said a closer look at the crucial last 10 minutes told a story of its own.
“In the final 10 minutes of the match, the Springboks made five substitutions compared to the All Blacks’ one permanent switch,” Venter observed.
“In the 73rd minute, Embrose Papier replaced Faf de Klerk, Bongi Mbonambi swapped with Malcolm Marx, and Tendai Mtawarira came on for Steven Kitshoff with six minutes to play.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the players that came on and is instead down to the fact it’s well nigh impossible to come on and make a difference straight away.”