Greetings everybody. It is a sad blog today as I have to speak about the Boks losing to the All Blacks but unfortunately it comes with no surprise as I will explain below. The Proteas were incredible but it didn’t take away the frustration of Saturday.
In a gut wrenching game, we lost 20-18 to the mighty All Blacks. While I accept that there is no shame losing to arguably the greatest rugby team of all time, these are the issues I have with the Boks for their display this past weekend.
We did the basics well for the most part against the All Blacks. We made monstrous tackles, made all of our kicks at poles and we won a lot of turnover ball. But with that said, surely these are the absolute basics that are required in test match rugby and it should be expected rather than lauded? Logic would also dictate that we would win a lot of turnover ball if we only had 35% possession and territory for the whole game?
Barring the first move of the game, I didn’t see the Boks have one back line move where the ball went past Damian De Allende, Jesse Kriel must be wondering what it is like to run with a rugby ball under his arm? To score 1 try from 160 minutes of knock out rugby is diabolical in my book and it is just not good enough whichever way you try and cut it.
As per usual, we were not able to change our style of play during the game. Once again, it appeared that Heyneke Meyer had given the players a strict plan and they were told to stick to it come hell or high water. The All Blacks kept up pinned in our own half for the majority of the game and their kicks by Carter in behind our defense with our defense flying up was like slow poison for us and we didn’t seem to try varying our play to stop it.
Our experienced players made mistakes at crucial times in the game. While you do need experienced players for big games, for the last four years, Meyer has been obsessed with playing players that were way past their prime. Habana was off his wing when Kaino scored their first try, Bismarck lost us 4 line outs in a row and Matfield missed a crucial line out in the 72nd minute. While these things may seem small, at that level it is the difference between winning and losing.
When Kaino went off, it was our chance to score a try and really put pressure on the All Blacks, but in the 10 minutes that he was off, they scored 3 points and we scored 0. That must have given them a great deal of confidence.
By French refereeing standards, Garcez was not half bad. As a South African supporter, you expect to have a few rubbish calls against you so to see him give Kaino a yellow card for lazy running was a pleasant surprise, but I am of the opinion that the pass that Kaino got from McCaw was forward and was amazed that it was not referred to the TMO when the try was scored but be that as it may.
Ironically, as inept as our attack and game plan was, the difference between being in the final and the crappy 3rd 4th play-off game was a moment of genius by Dan Carter to put over a drop goal when they really needed points. As the saying goes, if God created the perfect rugby player, he STILL wouldn’t be as good as Dan Carter.
In the end, no complaints from my side, we lost to a better team who out thought us (Albeit not a difficult thing to do) and the All Blacks deserved to win, with all their possession, territory and the fact that they scored 2 tries, it would have been a travesty if they didn’t make the final. The reality is that the two best teams in the tournament made the final and I am looking forward to the final this coming Saturday.
I don’t know what the Proteas had for breakfast on Sunday but they went nuclear against India on Sunday and absolutely destroyed them. Somehow they have now won the T20 and ODI series and have a good chance of winning the test series as well. This is apparently the first ODI series we have ever won in India so that is a massive achievement by the boys, well done!
Quinton De Kock for me was the man of the series, to score 2 hundreds opening the batting in heat that makes Richards Bay seem cold is an incredible feat, I think him being dropped was the wake-up call that he needed to make him play to his true potential. Faf Du-Plessis has now made the number 3 position his own and was very consistent the whole series. Lastly AB De Villiers once again showed he is not human, another lazy 3 centuries in the series for him, we must cherish his batting as I don’t think we will see another one like him for a long time to come.
Some say Heyneke Meyer was born in Everton.
Thanks for giving this a read, until we meet again!