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Saturday Jul 15, 2023

RECAP: Will Jordan inspired All Blacks blitz the Boks in Auckland

New Zealand all put secured the Rugby Championship title today as they defeated South Africa 35 – 20.

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Racing out to a 17 – 0 lead early in the first half, the Springboks appeared shell-shocked in the face of relentless All Blacks pressure.

Key to both of the All Blacks’ opening tries and, in reality, just about all of their great play was winger Will Jordan who was simply world-class.

His initial break on the outside of the Springbok blitz defence displayed his full array of skills as he cleverly released the ball when he was half-tackled before getting up and sprinting off.

From here, he fed the ball back inside to the supporting Aaron Smith, who went over untouched to get the Kiwis off to a dream start.

Minutes later, Jordan would be at it again as he made a snipe through the Springbok defence to set up a rampaging Shannon Frizell for the All Blacks second.

Richie Mo’unga converted both scores whilst also adding a penalty to bring the scores to 17 – 0.

From here, the Springboks would settle down somewhat as they somewhat enforced their constricting pressure game.

Yet, for all of their bluster, the best they could muster was a penalty and two disallowed tries.

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The first disallowed try, however will no doubt be debated heavily this week as Cheslin Kolbe appeared to beat Beauden Barrett in the air to touch down. Whilst Bok fans were screaming at their television screens, the match officials concluded it was not a try after an elongated review.

For the second disallowed score, it appeared as though captain Eben Etzebeth had muscled his way over from close range only for some sublime All Blacks defence to hold him up.

At the break, the scores were 20 – 3 in the All Blacks’ favour, and alarm bells were ringing for the Springboks.

It didn’t take long for the Springbok coaches to ring the changes as the famed ‘Bomb Squad’ entered the fray.

They would make an instant impact as replacement Hooker Malcolm Marx drove over for South Africa’s first try of the contest.

Ten minutes later, Kolbe would get the try his play deserved as he skinned the All Blacks’ defensive wall on the outside to dive over for a well-taken try.

Now back within eight points, the Boks were well and truly in the contest, and it appeared as though another Kiwi second-half implosion similar to their performance in Twickenham last season was on the cards.

Unfortunately for the South Africans, this would not be the case as that man Will Jordan once again showed his class, this time combining with Beauden Barrett to get over for a try of his own.

The try, which was New Zealand’s third, was simply world-class and required remarkable skill from both players.

Firstly, it was Barrett’s well-placed chip kick that sat up nicely for Jordan, who controlled the ball well under immense pressure from Bok fullback Willie Le Roux.

Now back to more than a two-try lead, the All Blacks hit the jets to score again through Richie Mo’unga to all but end the contest.

Kwagga Smith would get over for a well-taken individual score, but it was little consolation as the Kiwis were home and dry and that point.

Whilst their head-to-head series in this year’s Championship is done at one due to the World Cup. They will meet again at Twickenham for a pre-World Cup exhibition match.

Next-up, however, is one more round of Championship matches with the All Blacks facing Australia and South African hosting Argentina.

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