Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following South Africa's 23-13 Rugby World Cup defeat to New Zealand in Yokohama.

1. Vital missed Pollard penalty

The Springboks dominated the opening 20 minutes of the clash and had the All Blacks looking rattled.

And when flyhalf Handre Pollard stepped up for what appeared an easy penalty attempt next to the posts, a 6-0 South African lead was on the cards.

But Pollard, uncharacteristically, hit the uprights and soon afterwards the All Blacks capitalised on a weak pass from scrumhalf Faf de Klerk to lay siege on the Bok tryline.

They couldn't get through, but won a penalty, with flyhalf Richie Mo'unga levelling matters after 22 minutes.

The All Blacks showed renewed vigour and troubled the Boks with their expansive game, scoring two quick-fire tries via wing George Bridge and lock Scott Barrett.

Suddenly, the scoreline read 17-3 in New Zealand's favour and it looked a long way back for South Africa.

For me, the whole momentum of the match swung with that Pollard penalty miss.

The Boks should have led 6-0 after the first quarter, instead were 17-3 down mere minutes later.

2. Mapimpi deserved yellow

Moments after the Pollard penalty miss, as mentioned, the All Blacks surged up-field and looked set to score only for Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi to cynically lie on the ball, preventing it from coming out.

It was a professional foul from Mapimpi and he deserved to see yellow.

Yes, the Springboks can be rightly upset with French referee Jerome Garces - especially with the manner in which he officiated the scrums and breakdowns - but on that occasion Mapimpi was lucky not to be sent to the sin-bin.

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read was right to label Garces' lack of action "gutless".

3. Magnificent Kolbe

All Blacks fullback Beauden Barrett was the official man-of-the-match, but it was not hard to pick winger Cheslin Kolbe as the standout player on the Springbok side.

Kolbe was omnipresent throughout. He was sound under the high ball, solid in defence and troubled New Zealand with several sniping breaks.

He has proved so many doubters over his lack of size wrong. He belongs at this level.

4. Faf's box kicks

Yes, Bok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is instructed to kick them, but his box kicks riled up many a Springbok fan on Saturday.

Just too many of De Klerk's kicks aren't executed properly and this needs serious attention for the remainder of the tournament.

If this is the way the Boks are going to play, then De Klerk's execution simply needs to improve.

5. Can Boks make history?

Despite the defeat, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus was adamant that his side could make it all the way to the final.

If they are to win the World Cup, they'll make history because never before has a team won the Webb Ellis Cup while losing a game in the tournament itself.

England (1991 and 2007) and France (2011) made the final after losing matches along the way but if the Boks are to win the event, they'll have to do what no nation has done before.

Erasmus' charges now face a likely quarter-final against Ireland - who impressed with a 27-3 demolition of Scotland on Sunday - and that will be a tough hurdle to overcome.