Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 57-0 Rugby Championship defeat to the All Blacks in Albany:
1. Worst ever Springbok loss!
The Springboks have endured many dark days in recent years, but Saturday’s result was the worst ever from a statistical point of view.
It surpassed the previous biggest margin of defeat which was a 53-3 reverse against England at Twickenham in 2002.
After starting the year with five successive wins and a draw, few would have thought that the Boks would slump to an even lower low than last year’s 57-15 home defeat to New Zealand.
2. Bok back three frailties
There were fears heading into Saturday’s Test that the Springboks’ back three of fullback Andries Coetzee and wings Raymond Rhule and Courtnall Skosan would be up against it.
And so it proved.
The Boks were hopelessly exposed out wide, with Rhule in particular proving to be a weak link.
The Cheetahs flyer missed as many as nine tackles and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that he’s not the best wing South Africa can call on.
The All Blacks also made inroads on Skosan’s side, while Coetzee’s defensive and kicking options were not always on par.
3. Scrum, lineout woes for Boks
If the Springboks were to have any chance they knew they had to do well in their traditional areas of strength: scrums and lineouts.
Unfortunately the opposite transpired which played a role in their heavy demise.
The Bok scrum started well, with Tendai Mtawarira in particular impressing, but this department got progressively worse as the game wore on, with the Boks conceding a number of scrum penalties in the second stanza.
The Springboks also lost five lineouts, with hooker Malcolm Marx having a “sickener” as described by our chief writer Rob Houwing.
“You might say he wouldn’t have found his jumpers if he’d looked in a drawer marked ‘jerseys’” Houwing quipped.
Failure to assert themselves in these departments meant the Boks had zero chance of even competing.
4. Puzzling post-game quotes from Bok coach
As a Springbok supporter I was somewhat perplexed listening to coach Allister Coetzee’s comments post-game.
Despite coaching the Springboks to their worst ever defeat, Coetzee remarkably said there were “many positives” he could take from the game.
He also said that they would “learn from this experience and get stronger”, promising fans that they’ll be ready for Australia in their next match.
Coetzee said the same after last year’s horror show which saw the Boks win only four out of 12 Tests.
He also said they would “learn” after being humiliated 57-15 by the All Blacks in Durban.
Despite conceding 32 tackles and leaking eight tries, Coetzee instead tried to put a positive spin on matters, saying: "I'm obviously very disappointed and the players are hurting, and it's definitely not through lack of effort. Passages of great defence, passages of great attack but we couldn't break them. They were too good. A lot of people, if you look at the score, probably think there were not a lot of positives. I would draw a lot of positives from this game."
Coetzee’s failure to acknowledge obvious flaws in the aftermath of Saturday’s bloodbath was an insult to Springbok fans.
His choice to instead focus on the positives had irked many, and rightfully so.
Coetzee sounds like a man in denial.
5. The Springbok-All Black rivalry is in tatters
The All Blacks again showed the Springboks respect following their record win in North Harbour.
Coach Steve Hansen said afterwards the scoreline flattered his side and I also noticed some pictures on social media showing the teams sharing beers in the locker room afterwards.
The All Blacks still view the Springboks as their greatest rivals, but it’s respect the South Africans do not deserve.
The All Blacks have now won 56 Tests against the Springboks, losing 35 including three draws.
Many will be surprised to note that when Francois Pienaar’s men won the 1995 Rugby World Cup final by beating the All Blacks 15-12 at Ellis Park, the Boks in fact held a positive 21-18 win-loss record against the All Blacks!
However, rugby turned professional and since then, the All Blacks have won 38 matches compared to a meagre 14 by South Africa.
The All Blacks have also won 10 of their last 11 Tests against the Boks.
Sadly, it has become a one-sided rivalry.