- The Springboks were cheekily reminded of the difficulties of Test rugby in New Zealand when they were beaten 35-20 by the All Blacks at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday.
- The All Blacks led 17-0 in 16 minutes and led 20-3 at half-time, mountains that were too big for South Africa to recover from.
- The Boks fought back gamely in the second half, but the wide margin of defeat left more questions than answers.
New Zealand gave South Africa the harshest reminders about the difficulty of playing Test rugby in the land of the long white cloud when the All Blacks beat them comprehensively 35-20 in a rugby championship showdown in Auckland.
As it happened | All Blacks 35-20 Springboks
It was an outstanding rugby homework lesson for the All Blacks, who led 17-0 in 16 minutes and never quite relinquished control of the match, the first between the two New Zealand sides since 2019.
The Boks won the second half 17-15, but a 20-3 halftime deficit was always a tough one to recover from.
The Boks, who flew out the players early to prepare for the match, were let down by their starting lineup and back row in particular, who failed to live up to New Zealand’s strength and intensity.
When the Bomb Squad showed up, there was a notable difference as the All Blacks didn’t have things their own way.
However, this was the kind of game that needed to be asked and answered in terms of World Cup venues.
There were many individuals who stumbled across Richie Muunga’s acting in the making of the play which was backed up by a fiery frontal show.
The only point of relief for the Boks was the fact that they scored their first tries in Auckland since 1997 in their first test in the City of Sails since their 57-0 2017 annihilation, but the margin of defeat was uncomfortably wide despite a battling second half.
The Boks had the worst possible start when the All Blacks scored in the fourth minute through Aaron Smith as the hosts elected to take the ball too wide.
Will Jordan got an early break and when he beat the Bock defense on the outside, he moved on to Smith, who scored next to the poles.
The Bock, who had been accustomed to conceding their early tries, were shocked and dumbfounded by New Zealand’s early statement of intent.
They were quickly reminded that they were playing against the All Blacks, in New Zealand and in a city where they hadn’t lost a test in 29 years.
The Boks did their best to stem the momentum, but the All Black’s rise is difficult to bridge and such was the case with the home team’s second try through Shannon Frizzell in the 15th minute.
There was an attempt miss building and once the All Blacks moved the ball wide there would be only one winner in a physical contest between Frizzell and Willie le Roux.
Le Roux was snubbed in a way that epitomized New Zealand’s physical dominance over their visitors.
Whatever the Boks tried simply didn’t work out in the first half.
They conceded a penalty in the first half of the game when Ethan de Groot forced the normally steadfast Frans Malherbe to the ground with a knee.
They were unable to cross the gain line and were smashed again on the tackle. Crucially, they were unable to get any par on the back row as Franco Mostert, Quagga Smith and Jasper Wizzi could not make it into the game.
It was the tight five who ensured that Buck’s ship was not overrun by All Black Water when they engaged in close combat.
When the Boks had rare forays into the 22m and 5m line for New Zealand, they had a lot to do with it, but impatience and encroachments hampered their momentum.
One such violation was a neck roll by Lood de Jager on the halftime hit that may have denied the Boks a shot on the try.
The start of the second half was also full of errors, with De Klerk tipping home a penalty in the 48th minute.
However, the explosive SA bench showed up and suddenly, there was a noticeable physique spike that didn’t allow the All Blacks the same freedom in the park.
The Boks finally crossed the whitewash through Malcolm Marks in the 53rd minute as they finally found some lift in the rolling batters.
The Boks finally managed to give the All Blacks the best they got, and it showed with the meters they were making.
It forced the All Blacks into a more conservative game, and although they managed to keep their noses up through a Mo’unga boot, with a 60th-minute penalty giving them a 23-10 lead, the Boks had something. they.
The All Black streak eventually gave way when Cheslin Kolbe, who had been brilliant with the scraps that came his way, scored a miraculous try into the right corner after getting a nice skip pass from Le Roux.
Colby’s narrowly failed conversion effort in the 61st minute allowed them to narrow the deficit to 23-15 and they certainly believed they could save the game.
The All Blacks cleverly consolidated the game and got the game back in the trenches and when they got to the counters again, they made the break that effectively clinched the game.
With a penalty advantage in the 69th minute, Jordan converted to try scorer when a nice pass from Bowden Barrett found him in space, from which he scored.
Crucially, Mo’unga converted, giving the All Blacks a 30-15 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Mo’unga put the cherry on top when he embarrassed Bok’s defense with a 76-minute effort in the first stage from 5 meters when he combined well with Ardie Savea to puncture Bok’s defence.
Smith redeemed himself for what was a forgotten game when he scored with a full-time hit, but the game ship had long since sailed.
New Zealand: 35 (20)
Tries: Aaron Smith, Shannon Frizzell, Will Jordan, Richie Muunga
Transfers: Mo’unga (3)
Penalties: Goal (3)
South Africa: 20 (3)
Attempts: Malcolm Marks, Cheslyn Colby, Quagga Smith
Punishment: Fave de Klerk