This will probably not be enough to completely reassure New Zealand fans, but it already has the merit of stopping the losing streak. Saturday August 13, the All Blacks dominated South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg (35-23) to relaunch themselves in the Rugby Championship (a competition also contested by Australia and Argentina). Above all, they offered themselves a little calm after the last complicated weeks.
Accustomed to ostensibly dominating the oval planet, the New Zealanders are indeed going through a hell of a period of turbulence and above all of defeats. Before Saturday’s game, Ian Foster’s men had three consecutive defeats (five in the last six games): two against Ireland (at home), and another last week against South Africa 26 at 10. The widest against the Springboks since… 1928.
The All Blacks better off
Result, the coach of the All Blacks was on an ejection seat and had already seen two of his assistant coaches pay the price of defeats by being ousted from the team. There is no doubt that his fate would probably have been the same in the event of a new poor performance. Luckily for Foster, his players tuned in to deliver a performance more in line with what the Blacks are used to delivering to their supporters.
First test of the meeting signed Sam Cane for the All Blacks 🔥 🏉 #SAvNZL https://t.co/lTPDDiswg7
Enterprising although clumsy, the teammates of Richie Mo’unga (established at the opening after the injury of Beauden Barrett last week) were the first to strike with a penalty from number 10, then a try from captain Sam Cane (28th ), followed closely by another achievement by Samisoni Taukei’aho (33rd). The New Zealanders thus seemed to be off to a quiet encounter, but this adjective seems to have long since disappeared from the land of the Kiwis.
Winner at the finish
Especially since opposite, South Africa is overflowing with confidence, and even a difficult start to the match cannot alter it. In the wake of their center Lukhanyo Am, author of a try at the end of the line (57th) and above all an XXL performance, the Springboks gradually made up their delay until taking the advantage after a penalty from Montpellier. Handré Pollard (68th).
Now fifth in the world (a sad record there too), New Zealand managed an almost unexpected end to the match in view of their recent performances to secure victory thanks to two last tries (David Havili in the 74th and Scott Barrett in the 79th). They finally impose themselves quite widely and offer a little confidence as the Rugby World Cup looms in France in a year.