Boks spring shock

South Africa am­bush the All Blacks

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Ben Coles

This was the re­sult world rugby needed. Af­ter the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions won the sec­ond Test in Welling­ton last year, South Africa raided the same venue yes­ter­day for their first vic­tory over the All Blacks in New Zealand for nine years, scor­ing five tries, and then emp­tied the tank in de­fence to record a richly de­served vic­tory.

South Africa head coach Rassie Eras­mus has only been in the job a few months but can al­ready point to a se­ries win over Eng­land and vic­tory over the All Blacks on their home patch, should he need to si­lence any doubters.

In­cred­i­bly, it was Eras­mus who sug­gested be­fore this week­end that he might be out of a job had the Spring­boks lost in Welling­ton.

One image summed up his side’s ef­fort: the sight at the end of a sob­bing Pi­eter-Steph du Toit over­come by the mag­ni­tude of the Spring­boks’ achieve­ment.

The flanker con­trib­uted 28 of South Africa’s eye-wa­ter­ing tally of 226 tack­les, a large por­tion of them stem­ming from a des­per­ate de­fen­sive stand in the clos­ing stages when they were down to 14 men af­ter a yel­low card for Wasps full-back Wil­lie le Roux. New Zealand, by con­trast, made only 46 tack­les in the en­tire Test.

“All we wanted to do to­day was give our best, give 100 per cent for each other and make sure the guy next to you re­spects you af­ter the whis­tle,” said Spring­boks cap­tain Siya Kolisi.

“I can’t say much. Our main thing is ef­fort in our team. We’ve let our­selves down in the last cou­ple of games. I think we showed a lit­tle bit of what we can do tonight. We should be proud of our­selves, but there’s plenty more work to do.”

The All Blacks’ many mis­takes in this Test would have been ren­dered in­signif­i­cant had Beau­den Bar­rett or Damian McKen­zie re­mained in the pocket for a drop goal in the fi­nal min­utes, when the All Blacks’ for­wards were set­ting a strong plat­form up ahead deep in South Africa’s 22. Why nei­ther stayed in po­si­tion for the win­ning strike is a mys­tery. The sit­u­a­tion screamed out for a dropped goal.

This was a night to for­get for Bar­rett off the kick­ing tee. He landed a woe­ful two out of six kicks. The con­ver­sion needed to tie the game af­ter Ardie Savea’s 73rd-minute try hit a post.

For all his un­doubted tal­ent, Bar­rett’s goal-kick­ing here was a hin­drance that will need to be rec­ti­fied be­fore next year’s Rugby World Cup. Jordie, his younger brother, may end up be­ing the pre­ferred op­tion – if he stays as full-back.

Head coach Steve Hansen might not be pre­pared to ad­mit it now, but he will be hap­pier to ad­dress the dropped-goal fud­dle and goal-kick­ing er­rors this week rather than any nearer to Ja­pan in 2019.

The out­come might have been un­fa­mil­iar for New Zealand but the start cer­tainly was, two stun­ning passes by Beau­den Bar­rett and Codie Tay­lor set­ting up tries for Jordie Bar­rett and Aaron Smith in the open­ing 15 min­utes to give the All Blacks a 12-0 lead.

Cue the tra­di­tional col­lapse from the away side, ex­cept this time pow­er­ful car­ries by the Spring­bok for­wards cre­ated an over­lap for ris­ing star Aphiwe Dyan­tyi to score his first try.

What fol­lowed was a sign that the All Blacks were not quite at the races.

Le Roux’s grub­ber was hacked up­field into touch by Dyan­tyi, with Jordie Bar­rett re­treat­ing to take a quick line-out. His long pass in­field to Rieko Ioane took a hor­ri­ble bounce and Le Roux was on hand to swoop in and score, giv­ing South Africa the lead for the first time.

By half-time, South Africa held a 24-17 lead, Mal­colm Marx’s try off a rolling maul and Han­dre Pollard’s penalty book­end­ing a score for Rieko Ioane.

Ch­es­lin Kolbe’s in­ter­cep­tion score ex­tended the vis­i­tors’ mar­gin, but once Ioane had scored his sec­ond – now on 18 tries in 18 Tests – the fa­mil­iar New Zealand come­back felt im­mi­nent. But a well-worked sec­ond score for Dyan­tyi made it 36-24.

Tries by Tay­lor and Savea closed the deficit, but Bar­rett missed both con­ver­sions, South Africa cling­ing on in de­fence to their two-point lead de­spite Le Roux’s yel­low card for a cyn­i­cal off­side.

All the in­gre­di­ents seemed to be on hand for the All Blacks to find a way to win, as they so of­ten do. Not this time, though. The re­match in Pre­to­ria next month will be fas­ci­nat­ing.

Per­haps by then, Beau­den Bar­rett will have worked through a few dropped-goal sce­nar­ios in train­ing.

“We threw ev­ery­thing at them. My boys kept work­ing hard, but the South Africans de­fended out­stand­ingly well and ob­vi­ously de­served their win,” All Blacks cap­tain Kieran Read said.

Stand­ing proud: South Africa’s Jesse Kriel cel­e­brates vic­tory over the All Blacks – their first in New Zealand for nine years

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