ABs outsmart brave Boks

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :All Blacks, In the news, Springboks, Tri Nations on 5 Jul 2008 at 20:59
Tagged with :

Dan Carter was the man everyone thought could prove the difference between the All Blacks and the Springboks, and so it proved as the hosts scored a comprehensive 19-8 win in the Tri-Nations opener in Wellington on Saturday.

Report courtesy

Whereas the Boks were tactically naive, Carter was the master tactician for the All Blacks as they drummed out a win that was a lot more emphatic than the final score will suggest.

Indeed, there were several times in the second half when the Kiwis came close to scoring tries, and did go over for what looked a perfectly good try that was wrongly denied them by referee Stuart Dickinson. That would have made it 26-8 to the All Blacks.

Instead of playing rugby in their own half, as the South Africans did far too often for comfort, the All Blacks relied on Carter’s boot to keep it in South African territory. Although he missed an early attempt at goal, he was on target with all his others, including an excellent angled conversion from the touchline of the Jerome Keino try that he was instrumental in creating five minutes into the second half.

The Boks had fought back well through an excellent try to Bryan Habana shortly before half time. It was a good pass from Adi Jacobs that created the gap through which Jean de Villiers surged, and then the centre put in a pinpoint pass to Habana, who slid over in the corner. Butch James was unable to convert, and this could have been a telling moment in the game, as a half-time lead would have been a significant half-time lift to the Boks.

They did a lot of scrambling in the first half and from the fourth minute, when Carter kicked his first of four penalties, they were down on the scoreboard, as well as in the battle for territory and possession, but in the middle stages they did appear to be finding their feet. After the break though they gave the impression they thought they had to play catch-up rugby, and whereas the All Blacks were measured and controlled, the South Africans weren’t.

It needs to be pointed out that the Boks also lost skipper John Smit immediately after they scored their try to what looked like a leg injury. Smit has been very much the glue that has held the Boks together during the coaching transition from Jake White to Peter de Villiers, so maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that they lacked direction and seldom threatened after he left the field.

The All Blacks, as they did in a Tri-Nations match in Durban last year, also lifted their intensity after the break, and they spent much of the second half on the attack, with the Boks doing well to limit the All Blacks to just ten points in the last 40 minutes.

The All Black tactics were clear from the outset. The first South African throw-in at a lineout was as late as the 32nd minute. The Kiwis had seven throws before that, all of which they won. That was an illustration of the All Black determination not to kick the ball out. When the Boks did finally get to throw into the lineout, they were sloppy, and Bismarck du Plessis missed his first two throws after coming on as Smit’s replacement.

The Bok scrumming was always going to be a big area of scrutiny in this match, and the unit was hammered in the first half, particularly in the first three scrums. They appeared to be settling later in the game, but you have to ask what went through coach De Villiers’s mind when he opted to leave the best tighthead, BJ Botha, behind in South Africa.

Some of the substitutions that were made during the game were also questionable. It was not Butch James’s greatest test match, but Frans Steyn showed against Italy two weeks ago that he is not a flyhalf, and he was shown up again. He did come close with a long-range drop attempt, but he could have done that from the midfield, which is where he should have started.

With Steyn standing alongside James the South Africans would have significantly improved their field kicking options, something that could also have been achieved by selecting Conrad Jantjes, who had a good game at fullback, on the wing to accommodate Percy Montgomery at the back.

The game was played in almost constant rain, so why the Boks did not do this defies logic. It certainly contributed to this defeat at the hands of an All Black team that is mediocre rather than spectacular and at the start of a rebuilding phase.

The Boks, by contrast, could have opted to start with 12 members of the team that played in last year’s World Cup final, but went instead with just eight.

Of coach De Villiers’s more debatable selections, Jacobs performed well on attack and held his own on defence with the exception of one occasion when Ma’a Nonu ran through both himself and his centre partner De Villiers. The question about Jacobs should really be phrased as follows — does he have a presence?

Joe van Niekerk made an outstanding return to international rugby, but then he was inexplicably replaced in the second half by Luke Watson, who made no positive contribution to the Springbok cause from No 8.

The best Springbok player on the day was De Villiers, who defended and attacked well, while Jantjes can join Van Niekerk in feeling happy with his performance. Ricky Januarie was good in harassing opposite number Andy Ellis off the scrums and at the lineouts.

For the All Blacks, Carter was the stand-out, but the reworked back row, with Jerome Keino in good form, exceeded expectations, while Conrad Smith was their most dangerous outside back on a night when they had many more attacking opportunities than their opponents.


New Zealand 19 – Try: Jerome Keino; Conversion: Dan Carter; Penalties: Daniel Carter 4.

South Africa 8 – Try: Bryan Habana; Penalty: Butch James.


  • ” Of coach De Villiers’s more debatable selections, Jacobs performed well on attack and held his own on defence with the exception of one occasion when Ma’a Nonu ran through both himself and his centre partner De Villiers. The question about Jacobs should really be phrased as follows — does he have a presence? ” – Gavin Rich wrote this piece – IMO he’s an idiot 🙄

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.07.08 07:30:05 by Charlie Reply
  • @Charlie (Comment 1) : I hate to say I told you so…
    But ja some people never learn. On a better note glad to see that we handed the Sharkies a bit of a thumping on Sat.
    Was the kakest ( and longest ) showing of any S.A. ref in CC history.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.07.08 07:42:16 by AK ( Bull in Shark clothing ) Reply
    AK ( Bull in Shark clothing )
  • @AK ( Bull in Shark clothing ) (Comment 2) :

    Howzit AK!!

    You missed out – you would have been the Only “Shark” in the stand with a huge smile on your face!! 😥

    I met Post 2 at Trademarx!

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.07.08 07:50:27 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @AK ( Bull in Shark clothing ) (Comment 2) : 😐

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.07.08 08:01:09 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 4) : There’s none so blind as those who will not see, dude. Jacobs had a superb game considering

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.07.08 08:15:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.07.08 08:16:56 by Charlie Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 5) :

    I also though Adi had a lekker game….maybe some journo’s just dont favour certain players… 🙄

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.07.08 08:49:48 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • My team for Saturday

    1. Beast
    2. Du Plessis
    3. BJ Botha
    4. B Botha
    5. V Matfield
    6. S Burger
    7. J Smith
    8. P Spies
    9. R Januarie
    10. B James
    11. B Habana
    12. J De Villiers
    13. A Jacobs
    14. C Janjes
    15. P Montgomery

    16. S Brits
    17. CJ van der Linde / Mujati
    18. A Bekker
    19. R Kankoskwi
    20. L Watson
    21. R Pienaar
    22. F Steyn

    Du Plessis’s ability to rip the ball off opposition players at the breakdown was phenomenal and something Schalk and the rest of the loose fowards need to work on. Steyn is there to cover the centres and back 3, NOT fly half.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.07.08 08:54:34 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 8) :

    If John Smit has to jump on CJ’s injury…..then do it for the good of the Boks and to ensure that De Villiers must glaring mistake, to leave BJ at home is rectified.

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.07.08 08:59:14 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @I’ce (Rebel With a Cause) (Comment 7) : 😐

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.07.08 09:10:23 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 10) :

    What – dont you think he had a lekker game??? 😯

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.07.08 09:31:08 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Morning everyone…

    I suppose people will still not be satisfied with Adi in the team even if he scored a hat trick against the AB’s on Saturday.

    If you too small for test rugby, you are too small for test rugby… (NOT)

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.07.08 09:35:23 by wpw Reply
  • @I’ce (Rebel With a Cause) (Comment 11) : IMO he was awesome…he gave his critics a fist in the mouth… :mrgreen:

    @wpw (Comment 12) : That’s a myth…thank you Adi Jacobs… 😉

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.07.08 09:49:57 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 13) :

    Nou hoekom gee jy my dan die ‘dun lippies’ op my comment??? 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.07.08 10:15:19 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 8) :

    Who covers fly-half? Hope not Ruan?

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.07.08 17:36:50 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 13) :

    He def stood his own…and there is not better than NZ…

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.07.08 17:38:32 by Hmmm Reply

  • I wouldn’t go so far as to say Adi had a lekker game. It was adequate.
    A lot better than some others but not a lekker game.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.07.08 17:40:26 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Bok management hits back
    07/07/2008 17:16 – (SA)

    Wellington – The Springbok management on Monday ripped into the match officials for the Wellington Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks, which the hosts won 19-8.

    The Springboks are unhappy with the way the Brad Thorn spear tackle was handled and also the manner in which the All Blacks were able to illegally manipulate the scrums to their advantage.

    The Kiwis’ counter-accusation that the Springboks had targeted their star flyhalf, Dan Carter, with a series of cheap shots was also dismissed with the contempt it deserved.

    Referee Stuart Dickinson has admitted he erred in not giving Thorn a card for an off-the-ball, after-the-whistle spear tackle on John Smit that eventually forced the Springbok captain off the field shortly before halftime with a groin injury.

    Thorn was, however, cited by the match commissioner and received a one-match ban from Sanzar judicial officer Dennis Wheelahan for “an act contrary to good sportsmanship”.

    Andy Marinos, the manager of national teams, said it was “a very interesting ruling” by the judicial officer.

    “It caught us by surprise because Thorn admitted to foul play. If you read Law 4(e), it clearly states that if you lift up, dunk or spear a player, then that constitutes a dangerous tackle,” Marinos said on Monday.

    “We believe he got off helluva lightly, especially considering that John Smit injured himself in the incident. All we are saying is that there should be consistency in the way these incidents are adjudicated on the field and afterwards, so that there is a level playing field. We don’t think this decision is consistent with the regulations.”

    Leave the field due to foul play

    Coach Peter de Villiers and vice-captain Victor Matfield were both reluctant to speak out, the pair saying that the matter was more in Marinos’s sphere of influence.

    De Villiers did say, however, that he wondered if a Springbok player would have been treated the same, while pointing out that prop CJ van der Linde also had to leave the field due to foul play.

    “The thought does occur that if one of our players had done that, would he be treated the same? But we have to move on.

    “But CJ was hit in the larynx and that’s why he had to come off. He was sounding like me,” the permanently hoarse coach said.

    “John Smit and Brad Thorn had a chat about the incident after the game and we have moved on. How it is handled after that is not up to us,” is all Matfield would say.

    The New Zealand media have been critical of what they called persistent late tackles on Carter, singling out opposite number Butch James.

    “It is a concern. He got late-tackled three or four times, a lot of tackles off the ball,” All Blacks coach Graham Henry was quoted as saying.

    The New Zealand Herald accused the Springboks of “random acts of thuggery” and of being “the bully boys of world rugby”.

    One New Zealand reporter tried to raise these issues with De Villiers at Monday’s press conference, but the Springbok coach told him he should go and ask the All Blacks the same question.

    More protection for Carter

    “There was one incident when Dan Carter was tackled late, but they always seem to want more protection for him. I know dancing is also a contact sport, but rugby is far from dancing. If you want to run with the big dogs then sometimes you have to lift your leg.

    “If you had looked carefully at the niggles off the ball then you would go somewhere else to ask about it,” De Villiers said.

    De Villiers said the Springbok scrum had been unable to produce the front-foot ball they required for an effective kicking game because the All Blacks were scrumming illegally.

    “We don’t want to tell the guys who adjudicate the games how to do their jobs, but the All Blacks used an illegal scrum. They were walking around and their loosehead [Tony Woodcock] was either scrumming in or going straight up.

    “The All Blacks were blown up 21 times in their last three tests for that and we thought that had set the bar. We were sure they’d be penalised for it again, but they were allowed to do it.”

    De Villiers warned that the Springboks would scrum in the same manner in the Test in Dunedin on Saturday.

    “We have to look after ourselves, so we will become illegal too,” he said.- MWP

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.07.08 17:47:26 by Hmmm Reply

  • De Villiers to use same recipe
    07/07/2008 10:35 – (SA)

    Wellington – The Springboks will be looking to cook up a much better performance against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday, but the recipe will remain the same, according to coach Peter de Villiers.

    South Africa were caught on the back foot by the superb All Blacks forwards in the opening Tri-Nations Test in Wellington, going on to lose 19-8 and failing to overturn a 10-year losing record on New Zealand soil.

    To make matters worse, they are likely to be without injured captain John Smit, who gees up his team in magnificent fashion, plays a vital role in the set-pieces and is a fierce tackler at close quarters.

    But De Villiers hinted on Monday that he will be keeping changes to a minimum for the second Tri-Nations Test.

    “Why make changes unless those changes are for the better? We won’t change the game plan because of the type of players we have. The game plan has already been set around the players that we have, although we will change some of the patterns within that game plan,” De Villiers said.

    “It’s never easy to lose, it’s a bit like a death in the family, but the guys are not down, the sun will still shine tomorrow.”

    ‘There is always pressure’

    De Villiers cracked several jokes at Monday’s press conference, but is it a case of gallows humour because the pressure is on as the new Springbok coach?

    “There is always pressure, you take it and you move on. I’m no longer the new Springbok coach, I’m over 50 now and my wife will tell you that there’s not much new after that,” he said.

    Wellington was a wet, windy and cold place over the weekend, and De Villiers said the All Blacks were much more at home in those conditions.

    “We played it wrong in that weather. We wanted to dominate in the first phases and get on the front foot and we wanted to dominate the collisions. The wind was a bit strong though and they had a better kicking game than us.”

    Not for the first time, the Springboks were also burned at the breakdown.

    “New Zealand were clinical on the floor, while we maybe got caught in between the new and old laws, we weren’t really sure what we could do. We maybe played with more discipline than we needed to,” De Villiers said.

    ‘I’m very happy’

    Vice-captain Victor Matfield, who is likely to lead the Springboks in Dunedin, said he was happy with the postmortems that had been done on the Wellington game.

    “We’ve had two sessions already, looking at what we want to achieve and where we can do better. There’s much more clarity now and I’m very happy with the work we’ve done,” he said.

    Flyhalf Butch James was the man caught in the middle as the Springboks’ succumbed to the masterful tactical kicking of Dan Carter, but Matfield said the Bath pivot needed support from his teammates.

    “A lot has been said about our kicking play, but it’s not just about the kicker. It’s also about the forwards getting the kicker into position and about the chase,” Matfield said.

    Matfield also said the Springboks needed to be more decisive in their decision-making, but he did not agree with suggestions that they were off the pace in Wellington or slow to adapt to the Experimental Law Variations used for the first time in a Test.

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.07.08 17:49:26 by Hmmm Reply

  • Fucking idiot.

    Surely only an absolute moron will think the same recipe will bring the same results?

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.07.08 17:50:35 by VinChainSaw Reply

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