Spring­bok win ‘lucky’, but ‘un­be­liev­able’: Rassie

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE Spring­boks’ upset 36-34 win over the world cham­pion All Blacks was rated “awe­some” but “lucky” by the South Africans as they tem­pered cel­e­bra­tions in Welling­ton yes­ter­day.

South Africa’s first win in New Zealand since 2009 left the home side to chalk up their first Rugby Cham­pi­onship loss in three years.

It also snapped the visi­tors’ six match los­ing streak to the All Blacks dat­ing back to 2014.

New Zealand outscored the Spring­boks six tries to five, but while Beau­den Bar­rett had an off night with the boot, South African pivot Han­dre Pol­lard was suc­cess­ful with five out of six shots at goal.

“It’s an awe­some day for the team and an awe­some day for South Africa,” cap­tain Siya Kolisi said.

But coach Rassie Eras­mus said his team were lucky to win.

“We could have lost it in the last few sec­onds,” he said, af­ter re­place­ment All Black Damian McKen­zie spilled the ball a few me­tres short of the line in the game’s fi­nal play.

Af­ter ar­riv­ing in New Zealand on the back of losses to Ar­gentina and Aus­tralia, Eras­mus said his squad had lost some self-be­lief and a vic­tory against the All Blacks on their home turf was “un­be­liev­able”.

“There’s no way we can get ahead of our­selves,” he added. “This was one win with a bit of luck against the best team in the world.”

The All Blacks, who re­main head of the ta­ble with two rounds to play, dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion but were stunned by the strong South African de­fence.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to South Africa. They played par­tic­u­larly well and took all the chances that were there,” coach Steve Hansen said.

“We’re ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed and there are ar­eas we have to work on.

“Any­time you lose it hurts. The dress­ing room is som­bre, very quiet. but it’s im­por­tant we learn some­thing, oth­er­wise it’s waste of time.”

With time up, and two points in arrears, the All Blacks aimed a se­ries of for­ward drives at the line with­out re­ward, and then moved the ball wide where it was knocked on.

Cap­tain Kieran Read said there was talk on the field about a drop goal, but the op­tion to con­tinue the at­tack was cho­sen.

The All Blacks were on the board early when a neat flick pass from Beau­den Bar­rett put his brother Jordie over the line.

Ben and Aaron Smith com­bined down the right wing for the sec­ond try with Ben Smith get­ting around Aphiwe Dyan­tyi and draw­ing Wil­lie le Roux to give Aaron Smith an open run to the line.

Dyan­tyi and le Roux made im­me­di­ate amends to start the South African fight­back.

First, Ben Smith had to watch Dyan­tyi run in for the Spring­boks’ first try, then a botched quick throw in by Jordie Bar­rett was snapped up by le Roux for the sec­ond.

Mal­colm Marx ex­tended the lead to 21-12 with a try from a li­ne­out drive and when sus­tained pres­sure by the All Blacks pro­duced a try to Rieko Ioane, South Africa re­sponded with a penalty to Pol­lard on the stroke of half­time.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the re­sump­tion, the Spring­boks ex­tended their lead to 31-17, cash­ing in when re­place­ment wing Ch­es­lin Kolbe picked off a pass from An­ton Lienert-Brown to Ioane and raced 40 me­tres to the line.

When the All Blacks nar­rowed the mar­gin to seven points with Rieko Ioane’s sec­ond try, South Africa coun­tered with a sec­ond try to Dyan­tyi.

With the Spring­bok de­fence frus­trat­ing New Zealand’s run­ning game, the home side re­sorted to for­ward power.

Codie Tay­lor and Ardie Savea pro­duced late tries from li­ne­out drives but nei­ther was con­verted. — Sport24

Rassie Eras­mus

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