Rugby Championship

5 talking points: All Blacks v Springboks

2019-07-29 07:56
Herschel Jantjies
Herschel Jantjies competes with Aaron Smith (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the 16-16 draw between the All Blacks and Springboks in Wellington:

1. Jantjies steals the show - again!

As was the case in the previous week's win over the Wallabies, Springbok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies stole the show when he scored a try after the hooter to help his team earn a draw.

Unlike the Ellis Park Test, Jantjies was a replacement in Wellington and got his chance early in the second half when Faf de Klerk went off with a head knock.

Jantjies' late try - when he followed up a chip kick from winger Cheslin Kolbe - stunned the home crowd and the manner in which the Bok No 9 controlled the ball under pressure was a sight to behold.

The decision was referred to the television match official (TMO) but it was clear that Jantjies did not knock the ball on, instead he beautifully controlled it.

He is no doubt a man for the big occasions.

2. A game-changing try

Up until the 35th minute, the Springboks looked in command. They had the lion's share of possession and territory and were leading 6-0.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, centre Jack Goodhue scored. The Springboks knocked on in All Blacks territory, allowing the hosts to launch a counter-attack from deep. There was a brilliant break along the touchline by Beauden Barrett who off-loaded to Goodhue who rounded off.

It was a game-changer and swung the momentum of the match in favour of New Zealand, before they let it slip right at the death.

Questions, however, can be asked why the TMO was not brought into play as replays afterwards appeared to show that Barrett had stepped on the touchline before he off-loaded.

3. All Blacks dominate the stats

The Springboks made most of the play in the first 35 minutes, but after Goodhue's try the hosts took control.

Statistics derived post-game revealed as much, with the All Blacks dominating all the major facets of play.

According to SANZAAR's official website, the All Blacks dominated the metres made (401m-237m), carries (154-100), defenders beaten (28-11), clean breaks (16-4), passes completed (227-114), offloads (11-8) and rucks won (112-75) categories.

The All Blacks also conceded fewer penalties (8-11) but somehow failed to win the game.

Another crucial statistic I felt cost the hosts dearly was the fact that they uncharacteristically made 13 handling errors, compared to South Africa's 5.

4. Boks lacked impetus on attack

I'll admit I felt the game was over when the All Blacks took a seven-point lead with seven minutes remaining.

The Springboks, despite their early dominance, never really looked like scoring a try and lacked impetus on attack.

They were often caught behind the advantage line and it was tough for me to envision them scoring when it really mattered, before a moment of brilliance by Cheslin Kolbe and Herschel Jantjies stunned the home crowd.

The Springbok attack however remains a work in progress - they were too static too often on Saturday.

5. Late scrum boost for Boks

The Springboks held their own at scrum time for most parts until the 53th minute when the All Blacks won a kickable penalty with a power scrum.

Soon afterwards, both Bok props Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff were replaced by Trevor Nyakane and Tendai Mtawarira respectively.

Nyakane was particularly impressive in a Springbok scrum which had a late resurgence.

Nyakane's first scrum turned the tables and he helped South Africa win a crucial penalty in the 77th minute which allowed them to set up a lineout inside New Zealand territory.

The Bulls front-ranker was sublime against Australia at Ellis Park and must surely be pressing for a permanent starting role.

 

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