All Blacks weather assault from air
THE All Blacks might have earned the all-important result thanks to a cool head from star fullback Jordie Barrett, but coach Ian Foster refused to shy away from the fact they were given a thorough examination in the hot Townsville sun.
The All Blacks’ back three, and especially their wingers, were put under the microscope by the left boot of superstar Springboks halfback Faf de Klerk (pictured).
But it would be the right boot of the All Blacks number 15 that landed the final, and most telling, blow in a bruising and physical 19-17 win.
Foster admitted he needed to see more from his troops on the training paddock this week after he believed their w e a k n e s s e s had been exposed by the meticulous and unrelenting kicking game the Springboks.
“The performance was not what we wanted but we were forced into a lot of errors by their pressure. That was a game we expected to come up against. Hats off to (the Springboks),” he said.
“I think you can talk about pressure and being strangled. We spoke a lot about the way we knew they would want to play against us. There is one way to dismiss it as boring, but it is ruthless and clinical. They are very good at it and we ran out of time on many occasions.
“I just loved our attitude. When things weren’t going well, we wanted to play and keep going. We showed a determination to keep fighting and got there in the end.”
The Springboks’ kicking game was on point, making the most of the swirling afternoon breeze ripping through the northern end of Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
But there was a point when it almost appeared to be the South Africans’ undoing after they conceded possession through a box kick despite being on the attack and in need of points late in the clash.
But skipper Siya Kolisi defended his team’s decision to be unrelenting in their game plan. “We were never going to change anything,” he said. of