Cape Town - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and captain Kieran Read, perhaps almost embarrassed by the one-sidedness of the Durban Test, stuck largely to polite, diplomatic platitudes in their responses to the Springboks’ plight.
But back in New Zealand, the local media was rather less merciful over South Africa’s 57-15 and nine-tries-to-nil capitulation on Saturday.
Former All Black scrumhalf Justin Marshall, in major national daily the New Zealand Herald wrote: “The Springboks were completely over-run in the second half … (the All Blacks) dismantled them by playing with ambition … the Boks looked like schoolboys at times.”
The Otago Daily Times, meanwhile, rather summed up the sluice-gates phenomenon as South Africa completely unravelled in the closing minutes: “The try by replacement hooker Codie Taylor in the dying minutes was almost cruel - the home side appearing to virtually concede the lineout drive. Their spirit was broken.
“Whereas the Boks looked stilted and awkward with the ball - when they didn’t kick it away, which was often - the All Blacks constantly probed and asked questions.”
Another Herald scribe, the traditionally outspoken Chris Rattue, gave the Springboks pride of place in his choice for “two saddest sights” in a quirky summary, by category, of the just-completed Rugby Championship.
The first was “champion Springbok wing Bryan Habana playing like an exhibit” and the other “years of SA rugby magnificence going down the gurgler”.
He was just as blunt about various Bok individuals during the rout, saying fullback Pat Lambie was “horrible, like the rest of the South African backs … useless kick led to charge-down try”, Morne Steyn “ponderous; his kick-reliant game is a killer” and Faf de Klerk “helter-skelter … the antithesis of Springbok halfback heritage”.
But Rattue did spare some praise for Tendai Mtawarira and Vincent Koch, the starting props at Kings Park, saying that “the scrum was about the only thing South Africa could rely on”.
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