Am I the only one that thought the test at Loftus over the weekend between the Springboks and Australia was actually pretty good?
Touch rugby, a joke, a sham, the Harlem Globetrotters of rugby are just some of terms used to describe the test from just about every single report I read, and where I agree that this test had one of the most insane starts I have witnessed, I reckon most people actually missed a good game of rugby on Saturday.
I am not one to attack scribes of columns when I do one myself (I leave that for the comments!), but I have been left wondering why we are not reading about how the Springboks successfully nullified the much vaunted Aussie loosies specifically David Pocock who occupied miles of column space last week – as De Villiers promised they would?
Or why are we not reading about the much improved use of substitutions in the last test which was also hugely criticized by rugby writers?
Why is no attention spent on the fact that the Springboks erased a massive lead built up by the Australians in the first 29 minutes scoring their bonus point try within that timeframe, only to be limited to 3 points in the last 50 minutes of rugby?
No mention of the massive defensive effort to keep the rampant Aussies at bay in the last 20 minutes – another point hugely criticized calling the players unfit and coaches not doing their job?
Or how about the fact that the Springboks outscored the Australians 5 tries to 4 in a type of game in which the Springboks are not rated (cast your mind back to the boring Boks columns of last year) and Australia are actually seen as experts in given how they built this from the Reds game plan which saw some degree of success this year?
How about the captaincy of John Smit, in the way he controlled the flow of the game after the first 20 minutes free-for-all in getting the balance almost perfect in deciding when to go for posts or when to go for an attacking line out in an attempt to calmly erase a massive deficit?
All I seem to read about though is how no team was interested in defending but even that is rather confusing, especially considering the Wallabies missed less tackles (14) on Saturday what the All Blacks missed in the previous week in Soweto (15). In fact, the tackle success rate (tackles made vs. tackles missed) was 85% for the Springboks, and 88% for the Wallabies. In Soweto, the All Blacks’ success rate was 82%…
More than this, two of the Australian tries came from direct individual errors on the Springbok side the likes of which you will not see often. Flip the coin and study the Springbok tries and just about every try was well constructed either from a set-move, sustained pressure in building phases in the red zone or turn-over ball which was for once used effectively and not kicked away. The only exception possibly being Steenkamp’s try which can be put down to a bad defensive error on the part of the Wallabies at the line-out but again, it was an attacking line-out close to the opposition line which put them under massive pressure.
I will leave you with this.
In 2000, a total of 109 000 people packed into Aussie Stadium to watch the All Blacks play the Wallabies. The All Blacks had a dream start scoring their first 3 tries in the opening 5 minutes of the game – after 9 minutes they led 24-0 over the Wallabies.
The Wallabies launched a counter assault however where Mortlock scored tries in the 10th and 20th minutes of the first half and with Latham and Roff scoring tries in the 28th and 32nd minutes respectively to draw level.
In the second half Justin Marshall extended the lead for the All Blacks but Jeremy Paul, 3 minutes from time put the Wallabies in the most unlikeliest of leads given the start of the test. On the 43 minute mark, the All Blacks launched their final assault resulting in a Lomu try which broke the Aussie hearts in a game which ended 39-35 in favour of New Zealand, a total of 74 points scored which included 10 tries.
The test was lauded as one of the greatest tests ever played…
Yet, last Saturday the test which almost followed an identical pattern, in which 75 points were scored including 9 tries, is labelled a joke.
I reckon some people missed a good test match over the weekend…Tweet