All Blacks thrash Springboks with record eight-try hid­ing

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT -

AUCK­LAND, Sept 16, 2017 (AFP) - The All Blacks pro­duced their best dis­play of the year to trounce South Africa by a record 57-0 and take a firm grip on the Rugby Cham­pi­onship in Auck­land on Saturday.

The eight-try vic­tory sur­passed the All Blacks pre­vi­ous best 57-15 win in Dur­ban last year and it was South Africa's heav­i­est de­feat, eclips­ing their 53-3 loss to Eng­land at Twick­en­ham in 2002.

It was only the fifth time in the 94-Test his­tory be­tween the fierce ri­vals that the Springboks have been kept score­less.

With the back­line stand­ing slightly deeper than they have in re­cent weeks, the All Blacks elim­i­nated many of the han­dling er­rors that had been plagu­ing them.

"We came in tonight pretty clear about how we wanted to play and what we wanted to achieve and a lot of those things came off," coach Steve Hansen said.

"We started a bit jit­tery. There was a lot of dropped ball or bob­ble ball, but once we got in to the rhythm of the game I thought we played prob­a­bly as good as we've played for a long time."

It was a per­for­mance that showed when the All Blacks click there is a huge gulf be­tween the first and third ranked sides two years out from the next World Cup, and left Spring­bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee dis­traught.

"I won't say it was a hor­ror movie but..." he said, search­ing for words to de­scribe his dis­ap­point­ment.

"We played our best rugby in those (first) 20 min­utes. Ball in hand we felt on top and we dom­i­nated col­li­sions and then one pass goes astray and you're un­der the pulse.

"I'm ob­vi­ously very dis­ap­pointed and the play­ers are hurt­ing, and it's def­i­nitely not through lack of ef­fort. Pas­sages of great de­fence, pas­sages of great at­tack but we couldn't break them. They were too good."

The Springboks opened with a typ­i­cally phys­i­cal start in which they bossed the All Blacks for the first quar­ter hour, un­til in the space of four min­utes the New Zealan­ders turned the game with back-to­back tries by Rieko Ioane and Nehe Mil­ner Skud­der.

With for­wards run­ning like backs, the All Blacks added fur­ther tries by Scott Bar­rett and Brodie Re­tal­lick in the count­down to half-time to turn with a 31-0 lead.

Mil­ner-Skud­der, Ofa Tu'un­gafasi, Lima Sopoaga and Codie Tay­lor scored in the sec­ond half.

The win kept the All Blacks un­beaten af­ter four rounds of the Rugby Cham­pi­onship and lifted them eight points clear of South Africa with only away matches against Ar­gentina and the Springboks re­main­ing.

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