All Blacks v Springboks I
Had to take an hour break after that to get myself together. Frustration doesn’t even begin to start the way I feel about it.
Firstly, hats off the Boks, especially the back row. Kolisi & Smith made turnover after turnover. We obviously weren’t expecting that, as we not once changed our approach to the rucks to counter this. Either that or we simply couldn’t. Their line out was also far superior to ours, although that shouldn’t really come as a surprise - been one of the strengths of their game for as long as I can remember.
On the AB side, Jordie played his best game in black. Diffused the kicks and then nailed it at the end to take the victory. Well played, I’m one of his detractors, but credit where it was due. Little doubt that DMac could have been as effective. Blackadder played well and I thought, line out aside, that Taylor was pretty strong around the field as well. Our ball carrying on the whole wasn’t too bad into contact, but we were isolated too often and hence the Box back row coming in.
Reffing wise, it was good to see a much better usage of the TMO. No endless replays of pointless things to make decisions.
It’s a shame that’s where the positives end.
Firstly, SA, hang your head in shame with your time wasting bullshit. Complete shame. Every single stoppage having your suite of medics, water carriers run on to attend to the latest injury / blood / cramp has gotten incredibly boring. It’s not part of the game, it just kills it. I get it. Your boys are fucking massive, and that’s basically your game plan, therefore they need those breaks to get wind in the sails again. But that’s not rugby, that’s American Football. If you want to play that game, then just bloody do so. Complete joke, which Pearce never really got a handle on.
Nice segue into Pearce there, but seriously talk about inconsistent. Starts off being pedantic as all hell, which is not my type of ref, but whatever … but then to just let shit go right in front of you and apply possibly the worst interpretation of advantages I’ve ever seen. For a knock on, when the advantage is 10 metres forwards with momentum, that’s advantage over. Also, when the AB’s have the ball in any spot in the opposition 22 … never blow your whistle to go back for the penalty. Ever. Thats when holes exist which we want to take advantage. Sorry mate, you looked out of your depth with a complete lack of feel for the game.
As for the rest of the Boks. Why even play a backline? You just kick kick kick and when you do spin it, you look completely amateur. Completely. Balls into touch, passes to nobody … I think if we’d played Reece we would have got an intercept or two.
As for the All Black’s … I’m not as disheartened as others. I thought we played ok. We generally got go forward ball, made our tackles and outside the one Bridge error, SA never looked like scoring a try. Made some bad decision errors, with not taking the 3’s early in the second half. Needed some scoreboard pressure / rewards for time down their end. I doubt we’ll make that mistake again. We really missed Aaron Smith, and Perenara was all over the show passing wise, and did little ball in hand. Backline looked better once Weber was on.
I had thought during the Argies matches that all the try-bombing would really cost us against SA, and it very nearly did. So many dropped balls, mistakes when trying too hard. Need to figure out the right time for the off-loads, man off into the gap. There were loads of gaps to be exploited, but our decision making in getting them / taking advantage when through them just wasn’t there today. That’s credit to SA as much as criticism of NZ really.
All in all, I think we should go better next week. All it takes is some work on decision making & ball retention. The Bok’s are not fit at all, they rely on switching out the forward packs and excessive delays to get through the 80 minutes. IF we use that against them, then we should be just fine.
MOTM - Jordie.