Tri-Nations review: New Zealand vs South Africa

Tri-Nations review: New Zealand vs South Africa

Tri-Nations review: New Zealand vs South Africa

All Blacks 33 – Springboks 6

Despite the impressive scoreline, the consensus is that this performance still hasn’t exorcised the All Black demons encountered in Sydney two weeks ago.

Up until the 69th minute the score was still 12-6 to the home side, all points having come from penalties. Read the kiwi press or listen to the AB themselves and you’d believe that it was all down to the New Zealanders sabotaging themselves with 26, yes 26, handling errors.

Henry said “We played most of the rugby, we looked like scoring most of the tries, I would have thought, and probably got a bit frustrated that we didn’t score earlier and that probably led to a wee bit more impatience and lack of discipline early.”

There you go folks. Everything’s A-OK. Anyone believe it?

The truth behind the stats is that for 69 minutes this “B” South African team did exactly what they needed to – put the All Blacks under pressure by tackling their hearts out. I know it doesn’t sound like a revolutionary plan, but what is different and specific is how the New Zealanders react if you can do it long enough.

A hint to what happens is in Henry’s quote “got a bit frustrated”. There’s one game plan – play high pace and off-load in the tackle. If, due to strength of defence, this doesn’t work, there’s no other plan. You just do plan A faster until the other guys give in; worked twice against South Africa.

However, if they don’t give in, and if they score some points, what then? We saw the answer at the MCG two weeks ago; there is no plan. Symptoms include leaking penalties , even cards and mysterious ‘fatigue’.

To be fair, this method of beating the All Blacks isn’t easy and even teams as good as the South Africa will fall at the final hurdle like the Boks did in the 69th minute on Saturday. The question is, can the Wallabies do it twice in a row next saturday?

NEW ZEALAND 33 (B Leonard, N Evans, D Carter tries; Carter 4 pens, 3 goals) beat SOUTH AFRICA 6 (D Hougaard 2 pens).


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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