Springboks thrashed by record margin

Author
Gregor Paul, NZ Herald,
Section
Sport,
Publish Date
Sunday, 17 September 2017, 6:30AM
Brodie Retallick runs in a try (Getty Images)
Brodie Retallick runs in a try (Getty Images)

This All Blacks team is certainly on to something. They'd hinted as much in the last few weeks but for the first time this year, they delivered the package they were after.

They put together a performance that will probably sit somewhere close to being the blueprint they want to use for the rest of the season and possibly beyond.

And for good reason. They were devastating. This was the All Blacks up against it apparently, struggling for cohesion and confidence against a side that is unbeaten this year and climbing the rankings fast.

It wasn't close. The scoreline ended up being ridiculous - the sort of number kids make up in the playground to reflect their imagined dominance and yet there it was: New Zealand 57, South Africa 0.

Who ever imagined that would be the final score. The 57 was crazy but the zero to South Africa was insanely difficult to take in. A record of course and with it a degree of humiliation that the Boks may struggle to live down or get over.

But it was reflective - a truly accurate representation of the game. The All Blacks had South Africa sussed from the start and there was never any issue putting them away and as the game developed, the gulf between the two became apparent.

South Africa were made to look ponderous, dated even. They appeared to be playing old rugby where they took so long to bash the ball up the middle of the field and recycle.

It was pedestrian, one dimensional and in stark contrast to the All Blacks who looked to be playing almost a different game. One that was light years ahead - as if it had arrived from a different planet.

The All Blacks played with precision and pace. They were controlled, thoughtful and yet instinctive in the sort of quantities the Boks couldn't read or defend.

The All Blacks gave nothing away on defence, reduced the Boks' lineout to a rabble, held their own in the scrum, drove the mauls as if they were old hands at it.

What the All Blacks essentially did was find the balance they needed: struck the sort of layered game that makes them impossible to contain and did it all with the sort of pace and intensity that befits their obsession with the basic skills.

They didn't reinvent themselves by any means - the difference between the All Blacks in Albany and the All Blacks in New Plymouth was the injection of composure, patience, ruthlessness and a desire and an ability to stay at the top of their game for longer.

There was no lull, no bad patch where they drifted mentally or went away from their core roles and lost their cohesion. The attacking intent and excellence has been visible all year, just not in long enough sustained periods.

It all came out in Albany though. The bench came on and added plenty. What was truly fascinating was to see the Boks scrum being destroyed in the last quarter.

There was no being seduced by the scoreline as happened in Sydney. There was no getting ahead of themselves in the second half and trying to make it all happen by taking huge risks.

They held their shape, their structure and their vision. They remained accurate to the death and that's why they hammered the Boks.

Probably no side in world rugby could have done much better faced with an attacking onslaught like that.

The future has arrived and it looks considerably brighter for the All Blacks than it does for the Springboks.

New Zealand 57 (R. Ioane, N. Milner-Skudder (2), S. Barrett, B. Retallick, O. Tu'ungafasi, L. Sopoaga, C. Taylor tries; B. Barrett 7 cons, pens)
South Africa 0

ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12AM - 5AM