Dominant Springboks make massive Rugby World Cup statement with record win over All Blacks

Springbok wing Kurt-Lee Arendse breaks during their World Cup warm-up against the All Blacks at Twickenham in London on Friday evening. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Springbok wing Kurt-Lee Arendse breaks during their World Cup warm-up against the All Blacks at Twickenham in London on Friday evening. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Published Aug 25, 2023


The Springboks stuck to their word and pummeled New Zealand into submission at Twickenham in their final warm-up match before the defence of their World Cup starts.

South Africa, who were dominant from the start, scored a 35-7 (half-time 14-0) win in an inspiring performance before they take on Scotland, Romania, Ireland, and Tonga in the pool stages of France 2023.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi promised on Thursday they would go all out, and boy did they turn the screws on the All Blacks from the kickoff. They delivered on their promise, and a powerful 80-minute performance by the forwards and backline kept New Zealand under severe pressure throughout.

There wasn't a facet that the Boks did not dominate for the entire game, and this performance will stand them in good stead in terms of momentum heading into the World Cup.

Props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe dominated in the first scrum of the match. They milked a penalty, and it went straight to the touchline where the Bok lineout took over.

When the Bomb Squad came on, they didn't let up in terms of the scrums.

New Zealand also struggled to contain the Springbok lineout jumpers and impeded them plenty of times as they tried to set the rolling maul. The Kiwis played the jumper in the air three times before referee Matthew Carley gave them a warning.

And as the Boks kept piling on the pressure, the All Blacks kept infringing before Carley's patience finally ran out.

He first carded lock Scott Barrett before captain Sam Cane joined his teammate in the sin bin for another lineout infringement.

The Springboks should've pounced when they were playing against 13 men, but credit should go to their opponents for defending their line even when they were at a numerical disadvantage.

But the way the Boks were having their way with the All Blacks by controlling all the possession and territory, the dam wall eventually broke when skipper Kolisi powered over the try line thanks to the help of lock Eben Etzebeth.

But you had a sense the South Africans should've had more points on the board while they were up against 13 players. And the missed opportunities in that first half were about the only thing the Boks have to sharpen up on looking ahead at the World Cup.

Even deep in the first half, when the New Zealanders were back to their full complement of players, the defence of South Africa was outstanding. The world champions scored a second try through winger Kurt-Lee Arendse, and in the last seven minutes of the half, defended like their lives depended on it.

They repelled onslaught after onslaught from their arch-rivals and managed some brilliant lineout steals and tackles on their try line when it was needed most.

When Barrett received a second yellow for a cheap headshot on Marx at a ruck, the contest was all but over.

— SuperSport Rugby (@SSRugby) August 25, 2023

The halftime score didn't really reflect the Boks' domination but the score early in the second half by Marx in the right-hand corner signaled the start of the end.

Bongi Mbonambi and Kwagga Smith scored further tries after coming on to complete the rout and send their team to France with a hop in their step.

While it was a forward-dominated performance, Libbok showed his kicking mettle with five conversions, while centre Canan Moodie passed the test with flying colours.

Fullback Damian Willemse was brilliant at fullback, while Arendse and Makazole Mapimpi looked dangerous every time they got the ball in hand.


South Africa 35 — Tries: Siya Kolisi, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Kwagga Smith. Conversions: Manie Libbok (5).

New Zealand 5 — Try: Cam Roigard. Conversion: Richie Mo'unga.


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