All Blacks vs Springboks I
What’s most frustrating about that game is our pack actually matched up well physically. We got absolutely no change at all from Angus for the first 30 minutes, with zero penalties our way to the five or six he gave the Boks. Yet despite that we were still well in the game and started working our way back into it when he finally started reffing both teams.
But our structure with ball in hand, fucking hell, just clueless. A symptom of this is how bad our 10s are playing at the moment. Beauden commands the ball at 10 but then has no idea what to do with it. Then Mo’unga comes on and just goes missing. By that I mean he will take the ball at first receiver at set piece, then is unsighted for the next 2 - 4 phases as random players take the ball at first receiver, before popping up deeper and wider looking for space that isn’t there. That shit may work at SR but at test level where you are up against organised rush defenses that pressure you and force mistakes, the 10 has to be directing play as much as possible.
That doesn’t come down to the players though, the fact that our 10s play SO differently within the same team really shows they are just trying to do what they think will work, rather than trying to implement a specific gameplan. The fact that Foster took charge of the backs is fucking damning really.
On other aspects of the game, I thought the way Angus reffed the scrums really benefitted the Boks. He seemed to want no resets, and instead blow penalties against who he deemed was the cause of the issue, and decided early on that the Boks had the dominant scrum so favoured them even though neither team really got any ascendancy in terms of pushing the other pack backwards. That gave them a big leg up throughout the game.
ST was really good, it’s a bit scary how much better he is than CT and Coles now. Subbing him off was a costly mistake, a tired ST was a lot better than an erratic Coles who made some costly errors deep in their half when we needed points.
I don’t have too much to add on the rest of the side other than the obvious fact that this team is in a serious rut now, and it’s clear the players don’t buy into the direction set by Foster.
I’m not sure I’ll bother watching next week, as it’s a pretty big effort to get up when you have young kids, and there’s little to get excited about at the moment. NZR are bearing the fruit of their incredibly poor decisions and are going to have to wear significant damage to the brand and legacy until they can move Foster on. Depressing times for ABs fans.