The Springboks held a 10-3 lead at the break and never looked in danger of losing against the All Blacks in a match where they dominated the physical contest, held most of the territorial advantage and more significantly, tactically outplayed their traditional foes in black.
They out-tackled, out-worked, out-thought and outplayed New Zealand in front of a packed crowd of 42367, in a performance that bodes well for the aspirations of Springboks in the remainder of the tournament.
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It was far from an ideal outing for coach Jacques Nienaber though as he lost Faf de Klerk in the opening minute of the match, and an impressive Kurt-Lee Arendse near the end of the contest, with both leaving on a stretcher after taking a knock to the head.
De Klerk, who made three tackles in an opening minute of frantic action, got his head on the wrong side of Caleb Clarke’s knee, but Arendse, so industrious in his first outing against the All Blacks, a debut try performance ended in misery as he misjudged an aerial contest with Beauden Barrett. He ended up stretchered off and red-carded for what can only be described as a clumsy effort.
Looking at the percentages though, Arendse was clearly on the wrong end of the stats. The Springboks outduelled the All Blacks all night in the kicking contest, with Arendse and fellow wing, Makazole Mapimpi, imperious in the air, allowing their side’s dominance in that aspect, only for the former Blitzbok speedster getting it wrong the umpteenth time of trying to contest, and ultimately win the ball back for his side.