Auckland - The All Blacks paid tribute to defence coach
Wayne Smith as they celebrated their record-breaking 57-0 demolition of
arch-rivals South Africa in a Rugby Championship clash in Auckland on Saturday.
It was the biggest defeat ever inflicted on the Springboks
and it came in the final home Test for Smith, known as "The
Professor", who steps down from his role at the end of the championship.
While the All Blacks were pleased to have eliminated many of
the bugs in their attack systems to score eight tries, it was the defensive
effort that kept the Springboks scoreless that they were most proud of.
And that was a tribute to the work of Smith, a 17-Test All
Black in the 1980s, and now recognised as one of the most astute thinkers of
"He's sitting in there happy as a wee sandboy with a
smile on his face as wide as the Grand Canyon," head coach Steve Hansen
said after the final whistle.
"He prides himself on it. When the team does stuff like
that he's happy and he takes it very personally when people score against us.
"For him to go out tonight the way he's gone is only
fitting because he's been a great coach."
It was only the fifth time in 94 Tests between the All
Blacks and Springboks that the South Africans have been held scoreless.
The All Blacks now have a commanding eight point lead in the
championship with only away games against Argentina and South Africa to play.
Hansen said the Springboks were better than the score
indicated, but "our defensive work is probably as good as we've ever had
it. That made a big difference".
After a sluggish first 15 minutes at North Harbour Stadium,
the All Blacks found their rhythm to score four tries and lead 31-0 at
half-time with a further four tries in the second half.
But as the All Blacks cut through the Springboks,
particularly in the wide channels, skipper Kieran Read said it was the
defensive effort that stood out.
"The Boks threw everything at us. That first half went
quick. It was a pretty intense half of footy. To be honest I don't know how we
were up by how many points.
"Our defence stayed strong and to not let them in in
the second half showed our composure and how much we wanted it tonight."
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee described the All Blacks as
"superb" and even in passages of the game when the South Africans
dominated they could not find a way to the try line.
"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
The All Blacks made 102 tackles in the match and missed only
18 while the Springboks made 99 and missed 33.