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Boks bow to late Black tide

Boks bow to late Black tide

South Africa may have lost the match to a last minute Doug Howlett try, but the message from this dramatic match is that the ‘Boks are Back’.

South Africa may have lost the match to a last minute Doug Howlett try, but the message from this dramatic match is that the ‘Boks are Back’.

Jake White’s charges lost this match despite winning the try count 3-1. However, they gave away a lot of penalties and there was no denying the possession and the territory that the All Blacks racked up in the second period. However, as wave after wave of All Black attacks broke over the aggressive Springbok defence, it appeared that they were going to survive to take their first win against the All Blacks since 200.

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But in an attack that went through 15 phases and saw Mealamu and Jack drive for the line, the ball was finally worked wide by Carlos Spencer with a lofted ball to Mils Muliaina who had the space to put Howlett over in the corner to the immense relief of the home support.

South Africa got off to a flier with a try by winger Jean de Villiers after just 30 seconds. Marty Holah lost a ball in contact and John Smit and De Wet Barry fed the winger to score.

South Africa’s tactics were to squeeze Spencer’s space with an in-your-face defence, which succeeded in keeping the conductor quiet but at the cost of a number of penalites.

Carter converted three of four to give the All Blacks a 9-7 lead, Montgomery having converted de Villiers try from the touchline. South Africa then bagged their second try through their powerful scrum, which had announced itself as such a feature in the tests against Ireland. They splintered an All Black put-in, allowing Fourie du Preez to break. He sliced his chip but AJ Venter did brilliantly to gather and feed Cronje to go in in the corner. Another Montgomery touchline convert put the Boks back in front at 14-9.

Another Carter penalty, against the omnipresent Burger for hands at the breakdown, pegged it back to 14-12 before South Africa got their third and best try. Initiated by Montgomery’s break off a Muliaina kick, with support from Barry and strong running from Marius Joubert, it ended when Schalk Burger took an awkward pass and fed du Preez in the same corner. Montgomery’s convert made it 21-12 to the Boks at the break, and it could have been more had jacques Cronje held a pass with a huge overlap.

The second half saw the All Blacks own the ball and the beleaguered South African defence cough up penalites. Carter kicked two before he went off and Spencer got another to bring the score to 21-18 and the dramatic denouement. Central to this were a scrum that the All Blacks managed to turn and a defensive lineout the South Africa threw over the top and conceded a 5m scrum in the middle of the pitch from.

White pointed to errors such as these in the closing minutes that were crucial. “We didn’t get much ball and the All Blacks were hammering away all through the second half and we were probably 10 seconds away from winning” said the South African coach.

“In the end it was some bad mistakes that let them in – we are very disappointed.”

“Disappointed as he was, the impact that White has had on this Springbok side has been dramatic and they will head to Perth for a tilt at Australia with a spring in their bok.