South Africa 35 (14) New Zealand 7 (0): Brutal Boks hand All Blacks heaviest ever Test defeat at Twickenham to make RWC statement

South Africa 35 (14) New Zealand 7 (0): Brutal Boks hand All Blacks heaviest ever Test defeat at Twickenham to make RWC statement

If the Springboks were hoping to slip into France for the defence of their Rugby World Cup unnoticed and underrated, they blew that script at Twickenham on Friday night. 

By demolishing the All Blacks 35-7 in front of 82,000 people in southwest London, the Boks might as well have sent up flares announcing their intention to defend the title they won in Japan four years ago.

They have not won anything yet, but victories over the All Blacks are rare, so this is worth celebrating. 

It was a brutal emasculation of the All Blacks. And when the review is done in the cold light of day, the Boks will realise they could have won by so much more.

Not that it mattered to the largely South African crowd who came out in droves to support Kolisi’s men. If the Boks ever play in the Six Nations, which is a distinct possibility, they will have no shortage of support.

Bok centre Andre Esterhuizen created endless problems for the All Blacks midfield at Twickenham. (Photo: Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images)

It was a fine win, but the Boks left several chances out there, as many as seven, especially when the All Blacks were down to 13 men late in the first quarter with Scott Barrett and Sam Cane in the sin bin for cynical fouls. New Zealand survived that period thanks to some impatient play from the Boks, but the pressure eventually told.

Pieter-Steph du Toit also earned a second half yellow card for a high hit on Sam Cane. It was reviewed by the Foul Play Review Officer in the bunker and was not elevated to a red card, so there will be no further repercussions. 

The Boks outscored New Zealand by five tries to one, ensuring it was the worst defeat in All Blacks’ history. The 28-point winning margin was staggering, especially when set against the 35-20 defeat the Boks suffered in Auckland five weeks earlier. But it was also the least South Africa deserved from the match.

Immense power

They simply blew New Zealand off the pitch from minute one to 80. The physicality of the Bok pack, which went up a notch when coach Jacques Nienaber threw on seven forwards in one collective substitution binge around 55 minutes into the game, was too much for the All Blacks.

And therein lies the Boks’ route to success. It’s no secret. They overpower and outmuscle opponents and when the first wave tires, the bench comes on and hurts the opponents further. Everyone knows it, but when the Boks are in the mood, no side can combat it.

The All Blacks were also terribly ill-disciplined, which was the result of the pressure they were under, but it was not good enough if they hope to win the World Cup. They conceded 11 penalties in the first half alone. 

Wing Kurt Lee Arendse streaks away for his 11th try in 11 Tests as the Springboks beat the All Blacks 35-7 at Twickenham. (Photo: Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images)

Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, hell, the entire starting pack, were immense. And when Trevor Nyakane, Ox Nche, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Bongi Mbonambi, Jean Kleyn and Marco van Staden arrived en masse, the intensity lifted. 

Seldom, maybe never before, has an All Black side been so bullied, and so bereft of ideas. Their discipline crumbled in the face of the onslaught, which was epitomised when Scott Barrett earned a 39th minute red card after he slammed into Marx’ neck while the Bok hooker was prone on the deck. It was simply a symptom of the frustration and tension the All Blacks felt. 

But the difference with the Boks now is, they have some seriou

…. to be continued
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