South Africa have emerged from Twickenham as victors in a thrilling contest that saw the current World Cup holders put a giant marker down heading to this year’s edition of the tournament.
Their 7-35 victory over old rivals New Zealand was witnessed by over 80,000 at the home of English rugby, with both sides fronting full-strength sides in a heavyweight battle that will go down in history as the largest-ever Springbok win over the All Blacks.
Not only was it a record between the two sides, but it was, in fact, the largest-ever margin of defeat for the All Blacks, with the previous records being set 24 years ago back in 1999. That time they found themselves on the end of a 21-point defeat to neighbours Australia.
The three-time winners of the World Cup, New Zealand, were looking promising heading into this match against the joint World Cup record holders, South Africa, but the sheer pace, power, and cohesion of the Springbok side proved far too much for the side that bookies considered favourites.
The victory was well deserved by the Springboks, but the Kiwi’s did not help themselves when they were reduced to 14-men. Scott Barrett found himself discarded from the match following an illegal hit on the head of hooker Malcolm Marx, which has had many fans in uproar, particularly considering recent events.
— Brett Igoe (@brettruganalyst) August 25, 2023
Depending on the disciplinary procedure moving forwards, this could prove to be very worrying signs indeed for a squad that’s already missing the injured lock Brodie Retallick for the first match of the World Cup.
Speaking about the defeat, All Blacks coach Ian Foster said, “You couldn’t help but be impressed with what they did, they really got stuck into us,
“Their physicality and their set-piece was superb and they had a massive game at scrum and line-out time. That was a big difference.”
“I think both teams needed that game, we certainly did,” added Foster. “We lost the cohesion when we were put under pressure, but I thought our defence in the first 20 minutes was outstanding and if we had more discipline in key areas we could have counter-punched.”
Player of the Match, Damian Willemse told Sky Sports, “It was a very good start for us, a great performance by the team, this will give us some momentum going into the Rugby World Cup. I am the man of the match, but credit to the forwards, they put in a hell of a shift.”