Record-setting all Blacks rout Boks
MATCH REPORT: New Zealand smashed a pathetically poor South African side 57-15 in their Rugby Championship finale Durban on Saturday.
The All Blacks thrashed the Springboks. They thrashed them as they have never thrashed them before.
Not only did they equal the world record for most consecutive Test victories, 17 in a row, but the 57 points they scored were New Zealand's highest score against South Africa and 42 points was also their biggest winning margin.
Nine tries were also the most tries they have scored against the Springboks and it was nine tries to nil, well and truly nil.
And the truth is that it could have been more tries and a bigger score.
And the bad news gets worse when you realise that this Springbok team was really trying.
But the method of their trying just does not work.
For one thing playing those 'one pass and bash' phases does not produce tries. In six championship matches the Springboks scored eight tries - to the All Blacks' 33.
Secondly unrecoverable kicks don't work. The criterion for judging a good or bad kick should be when and where you next get the ball.
Example: From a scrum near the half-way line Morné Steyn kicks and the kick goes down to the New Zealand goal-line. The kick gets the crowd excited. The All Blacks run and eventually score a try. Steyn's kick was not a profitable one.
Example: Beauden Barrett kicks high, Ben Smith catches and the All Blacks score a try. Barrett's kick was a good one. Oh, and he got the ball after a Steyn kick to Waisake Naholo. Steyn's kick was no good.
The whole world is aware that the All Blacks are usually better in the second half, but the first half ended with a glimmer of hope for the Springboks, for the score was only 12-9 and the 12 included a dubious try scored by Perenara.
In the second half the All Blacks scored 45 points to six, thus confirming their second-half superiority even as the Springboks sent on their bench who were intended to keep up the intensity. It was a failed exercise.
Poor Durban did not deserve to have to sit through this. A big, excited crowd turned up They sang the national anthem with special fervour.
The All Blacks did their Kapa o Pango haka which they reserve for especially special occasions.
Then Steyn kicked off in windy but mercifully rain-free conditions.
South Africa scored first when Steyn kicked a penalty from a metre inside the All Blacks half. 3-0 after 4 minutes.
Just after this Barrett missed a penalty but then, after just 11 minutes, Francois Louw was injured and replaced by Jaco Kriel
Steyn kicked towards the touchline on his right but not out and Naholo came racing away in counterattack. The All Blacks were threatening but they dropped the ball and Juan de Jongh booted through. Kriel caught Kieran Read who was penalised for holding on and Steyn made it 6-0.
Then from a scrum Steyn kicked the long kick down to the cornerflag on the All Blacks' right and Dagg started running. He gave to Anton Lienert-Brown, who had already had two good runs. The outside centre bowled a pass to Naholo who raced ahead and suddenly the All Blacks were five metres from the Springboks' line and the defence was frantic. The All Blacks went wide right where Jerome Kaino, under pressure, got a brilliant pass to Dagg and the wing who started it finished it off with a try. 6-5 after 22 minutes.
Five minutes later Steyn goaled a long, angled kick. 9-5, and perhaps the miracle was happening on a windy day near the sea.
From a line-out the All Blacks mauled, as they did often, the Springboks never. Lienert-Brown broke again and they went right getting close to the line where TJ Perenara picked up, dummied and ducked. After much examining by TMO and referee the try was awarded and Barrett converted. 12-9 after 32 minutes.
Faf de Klerk kicked and Naholo burst downfield. Lambie saved but conceded a line-out six metres from the Springboks' line. The Springboks were penalised and now the All Blacks had a five-metre line-out. They mauled and Brodie Retallick was over but the TMO and the referee decided that Read had obstructed and so the All Blacks were penalised.
The score at half-time was 12-9, and there was reason to feel satisfied with the Springboks's endeavour.
The All Blacks attacked from the start of the second half and a clever offload by Barrett as he was being tackled by two Springboks found Dagg who wandered over for his second try. 17-9 after 44 minutes.
Steyn kicked the kick-off directly into touch and the Springboks made their first three changes with the introduction of Lood de Jager, Julian Redelinghuys and Willem Alberts. From now on there would be more changes till all the bench was used. The All Blacks also began making changes, eventually emptying their bench so that the whole squad could join in the fun of the party.
Steyn kicked a penalty when All Blacks were offside within the 10-metre no-go zone after a kick. 17-12 after 49 minutes.
The Springboks won a New Zealand line-out deep inside their own territory and started running. It looked promising till Pat Lambie, with a man outside of him, decided to kick. Lienert-Brown charged down the kick and flykicked the ball into the Springbok in-goal where Barrett won the race for the ball and scored. 22-12 after 55 minutes.
When Naholo was penalised, Steyn goaled. 22-15 after 58 minutes.
In the next 22 minutes New Zealand scored 35 points to nil.
Steyn kicked to Naholo and Barrett kicked an up-and-under which Ben Smith caught. The All Blacks went right. Lienert-Brown gave to Dagg who passed inside to Coles who gave further inside to Perenara who scored. Barrett converted. 29-15 after 62 minutes.
There was going to be only one winner.
The Springboks went right but Lionel Mapoe knocked on a simple pass and Barrett ran 50 metres down the left and round under the posts. 36-15 with nine minutes to play, time enough for three more tries.
Lood de Jager was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge against Wyatt Crockett's face at a tackle and the penalty gave the All Blacks a five-metre line-out which they mauled over the Springboks line for a try - his first in a Test - credited to Codie Taylor. Lima Sopoaga who was at flyhalf, converted. 43-15 with seven minutes to play.
Liam Squire broke powerfully and gave to Ben Smith who scored. 50-15 with 4 minutes to play.
Taylor was sent to the sin bin for a reckless tackle on Bryan Habana.
South Africa were now in All Blacks territory. They tapped a penalty and lost the ball. Barrett kicked a left-footed chip which Smith chased and caught. In a tackle he popped the ball to Squire who scored in the left corner. Sopoaga converted from touch and the final whistle went.
Lots of the crowd did not see this try. They came in excitement and hope, paying lots of rands for their seats and in hordes they left early in embarrassment, anger disappointment and a mixture of all three.
Man of the Match: Of the forwards Brodie Retallick was magnificent in line-outs and loose and he even had the ability to dummy and charge. Amongst the backs there was Waisake Naholo who always looked unstoppable when he ran on counterattack; efficient, lively TJ Perenara and, our choice, Anton Lienert-Brown who above all exposed Springbok frailties.
Moment of the Match: There were nine worth mentioning, that is every one of the tries but there is especially the one started by Dagg near the All Blacks cornerflag and was ended by Dagg. It above all expressed the difference between the two sides.
Villain of the match: It would be astonishing if at this stage of the season Lodewyk de Jager did not know that what he did was unacceptable.
For South Africa:
Pens: Steyn 5
For New Zealand:
Tries: Dagg 2, Perenara 2, Barrett 2, Taylor, Smith, Squire
Cons: Barrett 3, Sopoaga 2
Yellow cards: Lood de Jager (South Africa, 72 - foul play, shoulder charge onto the head of an opponent), Codie Taylor (New Zealand, 80 - foul play, dangerous tackle)
South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Willie le Roux.
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 George Moala.
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Johnny Lacey (Ireland), George Clancy (Ireland)
Television match official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)
By Paul Dobson