There has only been one team in this one as the Springboks continue their rich vein of form from last weekend in Cardiff. Three yellow cards, one for captain Sam Cane and two for Scott Barrett, is a direct result of the vice-like grip that the South Africans have had on this game. Despite all of their dominance, the Boks really only created one try, with the second coming from a brilliant defensive read by Kurt-Lee Arendse. In a half of impressive performances, none has been better than Canan Moodie at outside centre. The 20-year-old made three big defensive reads to shut down the All Blacks attack and has played a key distributing role. With Lukhanyo Am out injured, head coach Jacques Nienaber now has two in-form options in Jesse Kriel and Moodie. Elsewhere in the backline, Damian Willemse has put in his best half of international rugby this season at fullback, launching a handful of counterattacks and putting in several dominant tackles. For all of the backline’s prowess, it has been the forwards that have led the charge, none more so than captain Siya Kolisi, who has been back to his thunderous best. At set piece time, the Springbok scrum and maul bar one slip-up on the All Black line has been dominant. Milking penalty after penalty, and whilst the All Blacks were ferocious in defence, the pressure eventually told as they continually infringed. For their part, the All Blacks showed glimpses of what they could do but couldn’t retain possession for a sustained period. The one opportunity they seemed to have came in the 39th minute as Will Jordan scooted over in the left corner for what would’ve been a lifeline score before halftime. Unfortunately for the Kiwis, it was called back, and a few phases later, the half was over. With another forty minutes of action to come, the challenge facing the All Blacks is significant but not insurmountable, and if any team can claw their way back, it is the New Zealanders.
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That was the most dominant Bok performance this season (including the Wales game).
Physicality, intensity, discipline.
— Philip Bendon (@PBendon) August 25, 2023