Mother of all hid­ings in South Africa’s worst de­feat in their cen­turies-old his­tory

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By KHANY­ISO TSH­WAKU at the North Har­bour Sta­dium, Al­bany, Auck­land

Spring­bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee has 57 prob­lems and they all have to do with how the All Blacks have be­come the bane of his life.

Just the thought of the num­ber 57 could be enough to have him com­mit­ted to an in­sti­tu­tion af­ter an un­speak­able rugby shake­down in which the Boks couldn't an­swer the R57-mil­lion ques­tion.

The All Blacks made sure light­ning struck twice and in a coun­try where sheep out­num­ber hu­mans, Coet­zee’s charges were lambs sac­ri­ficed at the al­tar of the rugby gods.

They are pleased the All Blacks raise their game for their old en­e­mies, whom they've now beaten 56 times in 95 meet­ings since the first in Dunedin on Au­gust 13 1921.

They've now seen off the Boks 37 times in 51 meet­ings since 1992, erad­i­cat­ing claims of the close­ness of the All Blacks/Spring­bok ri­valry.

Coet­zee was red-eyed

The Boks have won only three times in New Zealand since read­mis­sion and at no point did they look like they would add to that measly statis­tic.

If ever last year's Dur­ban de­mo­li­tion (5715) was seen as an aber­ra­tion de­spite the ab­ject na­ture of his charges at the time, yes­ter­day’s Al­bany an­ni­hi­la­tion is the most de­mor­al­is­ing mo­ment in the 111-year Spring­bok saga.

The Pre­to­ria “Pak­slae” (52-16) com­mit­ted by John Mitchell's unit on Ru­dolf Straeuli's sorry lot in 2003, 2002's 53-3 Twick­en­ham thrash­ing ex­er­cised by Clive Wood­ward’s Eng­land also over­seen by Straeuli, and 2006’s 49-0 Bris­bane bat­ter­ing Jake White had to en­dure against Aus­tralia paled into in­signif­i­cance in light of the record-break­ing thrash­ing.

Coet­zee was red-eyed and sat down for most of the game while as­sis­tant coach Bren­dan Venter looked on and screamed in dis­gust as the All Blacks sponged the early Bok pres­sure, from where they me­thod­i­cally dis­sected them.

“I wouldn't say it was a hor­ror movie but we played our best rugby in the first 20 min­utes and we felt we were on top as we dom­i­nated the col­li­sions and had ball in hand. It was a case of one pass go­ing astray and we were un­der the poles. We had num­bers on their cross-kicks and the bounce of the ball and they scored. We were then be­hind and they’re a qual­ity side,” Coet­zee said.

No op­tion but to fight back

“Emo­tion­ally we’ll see where we are but I’ve got no doubt the play­ers will never give up. I’ve seen this group in the past seven tests and we’ve got no op­tion but to fight back in South Africa and from this learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, we’ll get stronger, I prom­ise you. We’ll be ready for Aus­tralia.”

Coet­zee has no op­tion but to get his charges ready for their Wal­laby en­gage­ment on Septem­ber 30 in Bloem­fontein.

The All Blacks await at the home away from home that’s New­lands the fol­low­ing week. The last time the All Blacks faced the Boks in Cape Town nine years ago, they blanked them 19-0 while Aus­tralia made a mess of a hand­some lead in 2010 be­fore Kurtley Beale res­cued them with a last­minute penalty to win 41-39.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen isn’t the type to rub de­feat in the face of the losers but he had every rea­son to be happy with his team’s per­for­mance while also look­ing for im­prove­ment.

He's the only coach to record con­sec­u­tive half-cen­turies against the Boks, which makes up for the in­dig­ni­ties he suf­fered against them when he coached Wales.

“We’re try­ing to get bet­ter all the time and we’re work­ing on dif­fer­ent things. We came into the game with a clear idea of how we wanted to play and what we wanted to achieve and some of those things came off tonight,” Hansen said.

“At the end of the first half, we couldn’t be­lieve the score. We took our op­por­tu­ni­ties and they didn’t. Our de­fen­sive work was prob­a­bly as good as it ever has been. I think they’re a good side and the board doesn’t re­flect the mar­gins be­tween the teams.”

Pic­ture: Reuters

Spring­bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi’s mis­ery re­flects the feel­ings of South African fans af­ter the All Blacks de­mol­ished the Boks 57-0 yes­ter­day — South Africa’s worst de­feat in 111 years of play­ing rugby.

Pic­ture: Reuters

Spring­bok fly­half El­ton Jan­tjies tries to get rid of the ball de­spite All Black scrumhalf Aaron Smith’s close at­ten­tion in their Rugby Cham­pi­onship match in Al­bany, New Zealand, yes­ter­day.

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