CAPE TOWN – Any Springbok bashing would be a misrepresentation because Saturday’s 23-13 defeat against the All Blacks was a fantastic game of rugby. However, Bok coach Rassie Erasmus would be the first to acknowledge that his All Black counterpart Steve Hansen got the drop on him in selection and game strategy.
The All Blacks used a strong kicking game to negate the potency of the Boks’ rush defence and the selection of two specialist opensiders in Adri Savea and Sam Cane worked a treat for the defending champions in the 40 minutes before Cane left the field with concussion.
The All Blacks’ two tries showcased the wonderful skills of so many of their players, but it was their discipline in contact, their shape defensively and a refusal to commit numbers to the breakdown that troubled the Boks.
Most All Black wins are memorable because of the tries they score, but Saturday’s victory was because of their defence and a game plan that relied more on kicking than it did running.
They kicked the ball 35 times and on 19 occasions won back the kicked ball. Scrumhalf Aaron Smith produced a masterful display of kicking from the base which was reminiscent of Fourie du Preez’s form at the 2007 World Cup in France.