The All Blacks have secured a record-breaking victory over the Springboks in Wellington. While the score line fell short of the all time margin victory, the 40-7 thrashing was good enough to break the record for biggest victory over the Springboks in New Zealand. The All Blacks also took the opportunity to show off their new All Blacks rugby jersey. It now features a white collar, which is a throwback to the old jerseys up until 1999. In particular, it is a homage to the 1987 Rugby World Cup winning team. The new jersey is a lot tighter, and apparently half as light as the previous edition.
The result wasn’t unexpected after the two sides named their respective teams. The Springboks had left 21 of their top players at home, and further players were forced out with injuries after their test against the Wallabies. The All Blacks, despite still resting a few players, named a much stronger side. The Springboks return to South Africa with no Tri-Nations points, while the All Blacks bank the maximum 5 by getting a four try bonus.
The Springboks showed they can still be a dangerous side when they hold onto the ball, with the All Blacks lucky to escape without more points scored against them on a number of occasions. Naturally, the ‘boks will also be a totally different side at home when they meet the travelling All Blacks and Wallabies. Of those starting, Patrick Lambie continued to impress, although the experiment of playing him at flyhalf and Morne Steyn at fullback will probably be shelved. John Smit scored his second try in two weeks and showed he is still far from a spent force.
For the All Blacks, Adam Thomson showed his versatility by admirably completing his full house of loose forward starts by starting his first test at number 8. Although he seems to have won the battle with Liam Messam for the reserve loose forward cover, Messam also performed well off the bench. Colin Slade combined well with Dan Carter, providing an interesting insight into how the reserve bench could be used in future matches. Ma’a Nonu was strong and despite the hype, will be hard to replace with Sonny Bill Williams. In fact, it was Conrad Smith who was replaced with Williams, although Williams found it difficult to make his mark in his first test on New Zealand soil. Captain Richie McCaw showed signs he may be returning to some form, after being slightly off his game since returning from injury.
After a difficult year with the Hurricanes, Corey Jane announced his intentions in a World Cup year, scoring twice. Zac Guilford on the other wing also dotted down twice. After Sitiveni Sivivatu’s strong showing last weekend, the All Black selectors have a difficult task in choosing their outside backs for the World Cup. Near certainties Isaia Toeava, Israel Dagg and Hosea Gear are still to come back from injury, and there is the reliable Ben Smith to still consider.
While he had an off night on the kicking tee, it was still enough for Dan Carter to take back the world test point scoring record from Jonny Wilkinson. In the process Carter became the first player to ever score over 1200 points in test rugby. He now sits on 1204, nine points more than Wilkinson. Test records aside, Dan Carter showed some ominous running form in the match and set up a juicy matchup with Quade Cooper next weekend at Eden Park.
All Blacks 40 v Springboks 7:
New Zealand 40:
Tries: Zac Guildford 2, Cory Jane 2, Wyatt Crockett, Colin Slade
Conversions: Daniel Carter 2
Penalties: Daniel Carter 2
South Africa 7:
Tries: John Smit
Conversion: Morne Steyn