MATCH REPORT: The Springboks made a big statement concluding their World Cup preparations with a resounding 35-7 win over the All Blacks at Twickenham on Friday.
The Springboks scored five tries, through captain Siya Kolisi, wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, hooker Malcolm Marx and replacements Bongi Mbonambi and Kwagga Smith – all converted by flyhalf Manie Libbok.
New Zealand avoided the embarrassment of being ‘nilled’ nine minutes from time when replacement back Cam Roigard ran in a converted try from some 70 metres out after gathering a loose ball.
The defeat, however, topped the 21-point loss the All Blacks suffered when going down 47-26 to Australia in 2019.
This result also saw South Africa top their previous winning margin against arch-rivals New Zealand achieved in a 17-0 success at Durban back in 1928.
New Zealand’s fate was all but sealed when they had to play just over half the match a man down after Scott Barrett was sent off shortly before the break for a second yellow card, with the lock flying into a ruck and clattering Marx in the head.
The Springbok pack were in dominant form in what was the first match between the arch-rivals at Twickenham since the All Blacks won 20-18 in a 2015 World Cup semifinal before lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy.
The Boks were forced into a late change ahead of the kick-off. Willie Le Roux failed to recover from a niggle he sustained during training and was replaced by Kwagga Smith.
The change saw the Boks head into the match with a 7/1 split on the bench.
However, despite the disruption, the Boks started the match in fine fashion. The World Champs set the tone as they won the first scrum and were rewarded for their sufficient line-outs.
They kept the All Blacks inside their own five metre, but the men in black survived the scare.
It was a horrendous start for the All Blacks they went down to 13 men with Scott Barrett and Sam Cane handed yellow cards.
With the numeral advantage, the Boks finally broke the deadlock when Siya Kolisi powered over the line for the first try of the match.
Kurt-Lee Arendse scored the Boks’ second try when he intercepted a Jordie Barrett offload. Libbok added the easy conversion for the 14-0 lead.
There was certainly no lack of drama, Scott Barrett received his second yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Malcolm Marx which culminated in a red.
On the brink of halftime, Will Jordan dotted down for the All Blacks but a knock-on by Mark Telea in the build-up halted all their celebrations.
The second half started as the first had, with the Boks setting a line-out close to the All Black line but this time the reward was instant. The ball was won in the middle and dropped off the top to Kolisi who fed Marx on the touchline to thunder in from 10 metres. It was the big hooker’s 17th Test try, the most by a Springbok forward.
Pieter-Steph du Toit was handed a yellow card for his shoulder charge. However, that did not stop the Boks from dominating. They added two tries as Mbonambi and Smith scored from a maul and a lineout to pile on the agony.
The All Blacks were desperate and threw caution to the winds, replacement scrumhalf Cam Roigard scored a consolation try but they could not breach the Boks again as an awe-inspiring performance was completed with the defence smashing back ball carriers to the last whistle.
Depending on pool results, the rugby superpowers could meet again in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
New Zealand launch the showpiece tournament against hosts and fellow heavyweights France on September 8, with South Africa beginning the defence of their title against Scotland in Marseille on September 10.
Man of the match: The Springboks were absolutely ruthless and any one of them could’ve walked away with the award. However, our nod goes to Malcolm Marx. The Springbok hooker was incredible, he made 11 tackles and on attack was just as lethal, which also saw him score a try.
For South Africa:
Tries: Kolisi, Arendse, Marx, Mbonambi, Smith
Cons: Libbok 5
For New Zealand
Yellow cards: Scott Barrett (New Zealand, 13 – repeated infringements), Sam Cane (New Zealand, 15 – repeated infringement), Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa, 51 – shoulder charge)
Red card: Scott Barrett (New Zealand, 38 – shoulder charge)
South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Marco van Staden, 23 Cobus Reinach, 24 Kwagga Smith
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (Captain), 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Josh Lord, 21 Dalton Papali’i, 22 Cam Roigard, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)
*Additional reporting: AFP