Player ratings: Man down
The Springboks could not overcome the handicap of a Bismarck du Plessis red card, and went down 29-15 to the All Blacks in Auckland.
The Springboks could not overcome the handicap of a Bismarck du Plessis red card, and went down 29-15 to the All Blacks.
The Bok hooker was shown two yellow cards and sent from the fiel early in the second half, which was the defining feature of a brutal clash at Eden Park.
The All Blacks went on to score four tries, and despite two late yellow cards for the hosts, the game was lost for a Bok side that had their back firmly to the wall.
The visitors had the set-piece ascendency early on, but their seven-man forward pack was on a hiding to nothing as the All Blacks made their advantage count.
It was the Boks' first defeat this year and ended a streak of nine consecutive wins, but despite their disadvantage in Auckland there was certainly enough to suggest that the South Africans are by no means dead and buried in this competition.
We rate the South African players:
15 Zane Kirchner
Disappointing as although he finished strongly by setting up Pat Lambie's try he was not secure enough under the high ball, handing possession over too often and his kicking was also put under pressure.
14 Willie le Roux
Got very little opportunity to make an impact and played more of a linking role. He made a good break at the death that almost saw the Boks secure a bonus point but kept fairly quiet otherwise.
13 JJ Engelbrecht
Got off the line quickly on defence but tended to isolate himself on attack and battled to bring his outside backs into the game.
12 Jean de Villiers
Made good ground with some direct running and his organisational skills were valuable on defence. Shifted to wing towards the end of the game and showed that he still does not lack any pace.
11 Bryan Habana
His team were made to pay for a horrible kick early on, but he worked hard to win a turnover and even got involved in the maul for the try in the first half.
10 Morné Steyn
Conceded ground on defence too often and his kicking let him down at times too, missing touch from penalties and then putting it out on the full from outside his 22. His cross-kick for the second try was spot-on and he did show some good touches but it was an erratic performance.
9 Ruan Pienaar
Started well with some good kicking and decent service, but got far too sloppy with loose passes, fumbled high balls, missed tackles and innacurate kicks spoiling his game.
8 Duane Vermeulen
He was everywhere, making a few crucual turnovers in the 22, tackling his heart out and finding some space with the ball in hand as well. He was put under pressure at the back of the scrum and lost the ball in contact at times but it was a committed display.
7 Willem Alberts
Brought his trademark physicality on attack and defence, smashing into the All Blacks in his limited time on the pitch, but his game was also cut short by the cards.
6 Francois Louw
Got stuck in at the breakdown and worked hard under pressure, but there were too many errors as well, as he lost the ball forward, threw a pass into touch and got blown up for not rolling away.
5 Flip van der Merwe
Was only on for the first half, but made a good impact as he stole a line-out and got through some strong work on defence.
4 Eben Etzebeth
Showed his class by taking the game to the All Blacks with his tireless physicality and immense work rate. Lost one line-out but otherwise rock solid and showed his value in both the tight and the loose by mauling, cover-tackling and running hard.
3 Jannie du Plessis
Very poor performance from the veteran who was penalised both in the scrums and at the breakdown and missed some crucial tackles which cost his team.
2 Bismarck du Plessis
It may be harsh to penalise him for his two yellow cards, but it did have a huge influence on the game regardless of whether he deserved them or not. In his time on the pitch he had a stormer, winning multiple turnovers, scoring a try from a maul and getting his team on the front foot regularly.
1 Tendai Mtawarira
Made the ideal start as he smashed Owen Franks backwards at the first scrum, but was also blown up for an early shove and lost the ball forward on the tryline.
16 Adriaan Strauss (On for Willem Alberts, 45 mins)
Made a positive impact by running hard and also won some important turnovers on defence.
17 Gurthrö Steenkamp (On for Mtawarira, 55 mins)
Up against it from the start in a seven-man scrum and forced to do a lot of tackling which left him fairly lethargic.
18 Coenie Oosthuizen (On for Jannie du Plessis, 55 mins)
Blown up for not taking the hit at a scrum, and brought plenty of energy but battled to impose himself as he would like.
19 Juandré Kruger (On for Flip van der Merwe, 41 mins)
on at half-time and played more of a role in the loose exchanges than the tight. Dropped Duane Vermeulen at a line-out and ran sideways too often.
20 Siya Kolisi (On for Francois Louw, 74 mins)
Not many chances to get involved but ran and tackled hard.
21 Jano Vermaak (on for Ruan Pienaar, 70 mins)
Injected some pace and cleared the rucks quickly.
22 Pat Lambie (On for Zane Kirchner, 74 mins)
Showed good composure to finish his try and attacked the line when he got the chance to run.
23 Jan Serfontein (On for JJ Engelbrecht, 74 mins)
Ran hard and got over the gainline well.
By Michael de Vries