>> All Black mayhem
NEW Zealand’s class of 2017 finally produced the definitive performance that has eluded them all year thus far with an irresistible demolition off the old enemy, rumours of whose improvements must now be considered premature.
Never has any Springbok side been beaten by so many points against the All Blacks, never have they shipped so many points in New Zealand and rarely have they looked so outclassed against any opponents.
The All Blacks steamed in for eight tries, maintaining their intensity and focus for the full 80 minutes which was the one major failing in their dismantling of Australia in Sydney last month when they went badly off the boil in the second half. This time the bench was equal to anything that the starters had produced.
Presiding over the masterclass throughout was Beauden Barrett whether it be at fly-half or, in the latter stages when the Kiwis rejigged their back division just for the fun of it, at fullback.
Strange to relate New Zealand were forced to absorb plenty of pressure in the opening 15 minutes when the Springboks scrummaged and contested well but struggled to convert pressure into points.
The All Blacks predictably kicked a penalty through Barrett on their first visit to South Africa territory and then pounced for four tries of varying brilliance.
Reiko Ioane leapt on a clever kick ahead from Aaaron Smith who took a quick tapped penalty, looked up and saw his left wing in oceans of space. Barrett converted and moments later the New Zealand fly-half combined brilliantly with MilnerSkudder in an exhilarating breakout, delivering the coup de grace with a nolook backward flip to his supporting wing.
Barrett, whose goal-kicking was criticised last week, landed both conversions and was on target again when his brother Scott galloped in for New Zealand’s third try after the diminutive Dane Coles had contested a crossfield kick from Beauden. The ball bounced free to MilnerSkudder who flicked up a wondrous pass to Barrett who wheeled away up the left touchline and to his surprise found no covering defence.
And then, with half-time approaching, came probably the best of the lot from the restart as Ioane took his time looking for space before he hit the turbos and roared past a couple of defenders and jinked infield before finding Coles on the outside.
The hooker looked like he might make it himslf but thought better of it and looked inside for Brodie Retallick who steamed over for a memorable score: 31-0 at half-time and the match was done and dusted as a contest.
After the break it went quiet – comparatively – for the first ten minutes but in the absence of a Springbok rally New Zealand soon bent their backs again.
The excellent MilnerSkudder squeezed in for his second try and there were scores for prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi, a cracker for Lima Sopoaga courtesy of a barnstorming run by Anton Lienert-Bown, and finally an unstoppable lineout rumble which resulted in Codie Taylor plunging over.
Rout: Nehe Milner-Skudder scores his second try