All Blacks praise defence guru for runaway win

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 19:57

REACTION: The All Blacks paid tribute to defence coach Wayne Smith as they celebrated their record-breaking 57-0 demolition of arch-rivals South Africa in a Rugby Championship clash in Auckland on Saturday.

It was the biggest defeat ever inflicted on the Springboks and it came in the final home Test for Smith, known as "The Professor", who steps down from his role at the end of the championship.

While the All Blacks were pleased to have eliminated many of the bugs in their attack systems to score eight tries, it was the defensive effort that kept the Springboks scoreless that they were most proud of.

And that was a tribute to the work of Smith, a 17-Test All Black in the 1980s, and now recognised as one of the most astute thinkers of the game.

"He's sitting in there happy as a wee sandboy with a smile on his face as wide as the Grand Canyon," head coach Steve Hansen said after the final whistle.

"He prides himself on it. When the team does stuff like that he's happy and he takes it very personally when people score against us.

"For him to go out tonight [Saturday] the way he's gone is only fitting because he's been a great coach."

It was only the fifth time in 94 Tests between the All Blacks and Springboks that the South Africans have been held scoreless.

The All Blacks now have a commanding eight-point lead in the championship with only away games against Argentina and South Africa to play.

Hansen said the Springboks were better than the score indicated, but "our defensive work is probably as good as we've ever had it. That made a big difference".

After a sluggish first 15 minutes at North Harbour Stadium, the All Blacks found their rhythm to score four tries and lead 31-0 at half-time with a further four tries in the second half.

But as the All Blacks cut through the Springboks, particularly in the wide channels, skipper Kieran Read said it was the defensive effort that stood out.

"The Boks threw everything at us. That first half went quick. It was a pretty intense half of footy. To be honest I don't know how we were up by how many points.

"Our defence stayed strong and to not let them in in the second half showed our composure and how much we wanted it."

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee described the All Blacks as "superb" and even in passages of the game when the South Africans dominated they could not find a way to the tryline.

"I'm obviously very disappointed and the players are hurting, and it's definitely not through lack of effort. Passages of great defence, passages of great attack but we couldn't break them. They were too good."

The All Blacks made 102 tackles in the match and missed only 18 while the Springboks made 99 and missed 33.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 17h30 Bloemfontein
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0