Awe­some All Blacks fi­nally show the world how good they truly can be

Sport360 - - Football La Liga - Rugby with Alex Broun @alexan­der­broun alexbroun@sport360.com

The All Blacks ap­peared to be tee­ter­ing. Af­ter a far from con­vinc­ing Lions se­ries, they had to come from be­hind in the fi­nal two min­utes to sneak home against the Wal­la­bies in Dunedin and the fol­low­ing week trailed 22-15 to Ar­gentina in New Ply­mouth with 30 min­utes to play.

With a 2017 home record that read W,L,D,W,W you could be for­given for think­ing their aura was start­ing to dim.

You could also be for­given for think­ing the Spring­boks had some chance. Af­ter all they were un­beaten in six matches, seemed to have turned around their woes of last year, and were un­lucky them­selves not to beat the Wal­la­bies in Perth.

When South Africa suf­fered three big in­jury blows in the week lead­ing up to the match – prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen, flanker Jaco Kriel and scrum-half Ross Cronje – the chances of the Boks’ first win in New Zealand since 2009 had started to lengthen.

But still you thought it would be close – as so many SA v NZ matches are – with maybe the ABs run­ning away in the last 20 min­utes. No one saw this com­ing. The All Blacks dom­i­nated from start to fin­ish, dish­ing out a record 57-0, eight-try shel­lack­ing that wiped away the 53-3 loss to Eng­land at Twick­en­ham in 2002, to be­come this proud rugby na­tion’s big­gest-ever de­feat.

We all know the All Blacks have the most deadly at­tack in world rugby – one mis­take and they will pounce, no mat­ter where they are on the field. A few quick passes and they are un­der the posts at the other end.

They did that time and again in Al­bany, with Aaron Smith’s de­light­ful grub­ber for Rieko Ioane and Beau­den Bar­rett’s out­ra­geous re­verse flick to Nehe Mil­nerSkud­der just a cou­ple of snip­pets for the high­lights reel.

But it was not the at­tack that was so im­pres­sive – it was the de­fence.

It’s hard to re­mem­ber a more com­mit­ted, or­gan­ised and con­sis­tent New Zealand de­fen­sive ef­fort. Time and time again the Boks pounded the All Blacks line and time and time again they were re­pelled with fe­ro­cious tack­ling from the black wall.

This was not the same NZ side that gave up four tries in Syd­ney to the Wal­la­bies, or five tries to the same op­po­nent in Dunedin. Or even the same one who con­ceded a softy to give the Pu­mas the lead.

This was a team that was tena­cious, de­ter­mined not to let any­one across their line even if they had scored 100 points, which they would have if the game had con­tin­ued.

South Africa had 44 per cent of the ball, 47 per cent of the ter­ri­tory, made 94 runs for 514 me­tres and even three line-breaks but they still never even re­motely looked like scor­ing, so com­pre­hen­sive was the All Blacks’ de­fen­sive ef­fort.

In the end it comes down to re­spect. The All Blacks would never say it out loud but they do not rate the Wal­la­bies in the slight­est, hence the near up­set in Dunedin.

They also know the Pu­mas will try hard but will never beat them.

But the Boks are dif­fer­ent. The great teams play their best against their big­gest op­po­nents – and this was the case in Al­bany.

NZ were sim­ply breath­tak­ing. The Boks didn’t ac­tu­ally play badly and they still lost 57-0. But this All Blacks side would have beaten any­one in the world by 30 points.

There is only one side on earth that can chal­lenge the All Blacks if they play like this – Eng­land – and this was a per­for­mance to even make Fast Ed­die trem­ble a lit­tle in his sneak­ers.

South Africa had 44 per cent of the ball, 47 per cent of the ter­ri­tory, made 94 runs for 514 me­tres and even three line-breaks but they still never even re­motely looked like scor­ing

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