Bok captain John Smit lauded his team-mates for a monumental defensive showing in inflicting England’s heaviest ever defeat at Twickenham.
The Boks made more than double the amount of tackles than that of the English, and kept a clean try-scoring sheet. This despite being down to 14 men on two occasions, where no points were scored during either 10minute period when Beast Mtawarira and Conrad Jantjes were off in both halves.
A clearly elated Smit said his players responded well to the pressure to perform. “I asked for a lot before the game, and I got even more back from my players. They made the yards with ball in hand, and drove the opposition back when they had it,” said Smit.
England manager Martin Johnson wasn’t overboard in his praise for the Boks, but said his players failed to take their opportunities. However, it was a back-handed compliment for the Boks on defence. “We created on attack, but couldn’t score. We were pressing at times, but then would go back 75m once we had conceded,” said Johnson, referring to Jaque Fourie’s run away score.
The English made seven visits to the Bok 22, and came away with no points, with Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana producing try-saving tackles. Conversely, the Boks made 10 forays into the opposition quarter, and scored 36 points through their five tries and two further penalties.
“We were stopped by good defence, that one on Delon Armitage in the first half from Botha was massive,” said a dejected Johnson.
Johnson said this humiliation will haunt him for a number of years to come. “You won’t forget about that for a long time. It was a brutal lesson for us to learn.”
Man of the Match Ricky Januarie was unaware of the record defeat and joked the score would have been more if the Boks weren’t mentally fatigued – as Bok coach Peter de Villiers said on Monday. “The score probably would have been 100-5,” the No 9 quipped.
On a serious note, he gave credit to his coaches for resting the players before their last match of the season. ” I’m grateful to the coaches who took us off our feet, there wasn’t much training, and there was more mental preparation.”
Captain Smit said he would enjoy his holiday knowing the Boks put in a better showing in their last Test before the Lions arrive next year. “It’s a good way to start the break. We stuck it out and got the win, but I could feel before the game, everyone’s minds were switched on and I knew it would be one of those wonderful days.”