Rugby Championship

Can 'awesome' All Blacks be stopped? Coaches weigh in

2018-08-20 11:31
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)

Durban - The Springboks are off to a winning start in their 2018 Rugby Championship campaign, but nothing is ever achieved after one home game against Argentina. 

All five matches that follow in this competition are tougher tests for the Boks. 

While they travel to Mendoza for the return clash against Argentina this Saturday, the Boks still face home and away fixtures against Australia and New Zealand and those matches will be the real tests of how far this side has come under Rassie Erasmus

The All Blacks, of course, remain the benchmark. 

Despite being 6-0 down just before half-time in Sydney on Saturday, New Zealand emerged as 38-13 bonus-point winners with a second half performance that re-affirmed their status as the best in the world. 

The All Blacks have now won their last 13 Rugby Championship matches since going down to Australia in the final game of the 2015 campaign, while they have won 100 of their last 112 Tests. 

Those are some simply stunning numbers, and already just one week into the 2018 Championship it looks like it will take something special to stop Steve Hansen's men winning their 16th trophy since the inception of the Tri Nations back in 1996

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma, speaking after his side's 34-21 defeat to the Boks in Durban on Saturday, summed it up perfectly when asked if the All Blacks could be stopped. 

"You never know what can happen," he said. 

"But last year you (South Africa) played the perfect game against them in the Rugby Championship and still lost."

Ledesma was referring to South Africa's 25-24 loss in Cape Town, where the Boks threw everything at the Kiwis, but still came up short. 

"We hope they don't run away with it, but it will be hard to stop them," Ledesma added.

Bok coach Erasmus knows there is still a long way to go before his side can think about toppling the mighty men in black.

"We’re all chasing them. We are number six in the world," he said.

"We must chase down five teams to become number one.

"After being 6-0 down in minute 38, they smashed Australia at home. It’s just the class of the side.

"They had two new debutants, there were a few changes in the pack … it’s just unbelievable where they are currently.

"We are No 6 and we must chase down the pack to get to them. There is a lot of hard work to get to them."

The Boks take on the All Blacks in Wellington on September 15 and then in Pretoria on October 6. 

 

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