All Blacks show their true class to de­stroy Boks

Record score as New Zealand fi­nally find best form

Sport360 - - Rugby Rugby Championship - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

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.

The eight-try vic­tory sur­passed the All Blacks’ pre­vi­ous best 5715 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 Rugby 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 posts.

“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 Boks opened with a typ­i­cally phys­i­cal start in which they bossed the All Blacks for the first 15 min­utes, un­til in the space of four min­utes NZ turned the game with back-to-back tries by Rieko Ioane and Nehe Mil­ner-Skud­der.

With for­wards run­ning like backs, the All Blacks added fur­ther tries from Scott Bar­rett and Brodie Re­tal­lick in the count­down to half­time 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 SA with only away matches against Ar­gentina and the Boks re­main­ing.

De­spite the lop­sided score­line, the open­ing stanza be­longed to South Africa when Eben Etze­beth, Jean-Luc du Preez and Uzair Cassiem led a mus­cu­lar ap­proach.

They won penal­ties off the first two scrums, stole the All Blacks’ first line out and drove through holes close to the ruck.

But their dom­i­nance was hin­dered by a suc­ces­sion of han­dling er­rors and a chance to put points on the board via a penalty by the usu­ally re­li­able El­ton Jan­tjies fell short.

In­stead, it was the All Blacks who scored first from a Beau­den Bar­rett penalty, the first of eight suc­cess­ful shots at goal as the fly-half re­dis­cov­ered the kick­ing radar that aban­doned him last week against Ar­gentina.

Then came the tries as NZ re­sponded with li­ne­out steals and scrum penal­ties of their own.

Aaron Smith took a quick penalty on half­way and chipped the ball to­wards the cor­ner with Ioane win­ning the race for the ball.

Mil­ner-Skud­der’s first try came from his in­ter­cept in New Zealand ter­ri­tory and he fin­ished off the move af­ter some classy in­ter­play with Bar­rett to beat the cover de­fence.

South Africa con­tin­ued to de­fend res­o­lutely but they just could not keep the ram­pant All Blacks out.

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