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All Blacks dash Boks' hopes

By unknown | Jun 25, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The Springbok's Tri-Nations is almost over. This is in spite of gaining a valuable bonus point for a score differential of less than seven in Durban on Saturday.

The Boks face a long haul Down Under to face the Australian Wallabies in Sydney on July 7 and the return game against the New Zealand All Blacks in Christchurch on July 14.

That, after the streetwise campaigners from the Land of the White Cloud came back in sensational style on Saturday to overwhelm a visibly tiring Springbok side 26-21 in the last 15 minutes of the game.

Physically, it was the All Black powerhouses off the bench, fullback Leon MacDonald and Luke McAllister, that turned the tables on the Springboks as the majority of the capacity crowd of 53 000 watched in despair as their team disintegrated to concede two late tries and their dreams of a second Tri-Nations triumph in World Cup rugby year.

Perhaps in hindsight the release of the All Blacks starting line-up within a few hours of arrival in Durban - complete with a couple of surprise selections - was an effective ploy.

So it seems that the All Blacks management team had got their homework right. The coaching staff had studied South Africa's performances in the Super 14 and in the Tests against England, Samoa and Australia - all four won by the Boks - and had detected the one major factor and weakness in their armoury.

And that seemed to be fatigue which in turn led to panic play under intense pressure as most All Black sides are able to produce whenever required.

After dominating the first half, the Springbok pack all but disintegrated in the face of the enormous pressures in those action-packed last minutes and it was clear then that there was going to be only one winner and that it would not be South Africa.

The All Blacks' tries that counted as they snatched away victory from a Bok side that had dominated the first three quarters of a vibrant game, went to skipper Ritchie McCaw and Jo Rokocoko with Daniel Carter, after missing three penalty shots at goal, kicking three others and both conversions.

As coach Jake White said: "If you want to be the best in the world you have got to match the athleticism of a side such as the All Blacks.

"Their reserve bench strength was palpably of a higher standard than ours and in the end we lost a game we could so easily have won because of a lack of stamina."

On the day, the All Blacks may have got out of jail as they suggested at the media conference but the truth of the matter is that their planning was "top of the class and their strength in depth the ace in the pack." - Sapa


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