The All Blacks shut out the Springboks 57-0 in a record-breaking victory.
The All Blacks scored eight tries after leading 31-0 at halftime.
There were only two survivors from the Springboks beaten 57-15 in Durban a year ago. Few thought it could ever get worse for the Springboks but it did in Albany where the Springboks were given a rugby lesson in every department.
This was the All Blacks best performance of the year. The hosts played with balance in attack and defensively they were brilliant.
The Springboks were never allowed to settle and Allister Coetzee’s Springboks have in the last three Tests against the All Blacks conceded 23 tries and 48, 57 and 57 points respectively, for a total of 162 points. The Boks have scored 13, 15 and 0 for an average score of 54-9.
The lineout, one of the Springboks’s strengths this season and in the Castle Rugby Championship, was a shambles against the All Blacks counter. Malcolm Marx and his jumpers couldn’t find the cohesion that has been a trademark of the Springboks 2017 season.
The Springboks pack, which started strongly and won an early scrum penalty, disintegrated in the second half and the Boks’ attack was limited and impotent, despite dominating possession and field position.
It’s the old story of what you do with the ball and not how much ball you have. The All Blacks are masters of turning scraps of possession into points and of transferring defensive pressure into points. In Albany, the All Blacks were masters at everything they touched, in attack and defensively.
The Springboks weren’t allowed to make a contribution. They were simply engulfed by this black tide and slowly drown over the 80 minutes.
The Boks had won five and drawn one Test in the year and few could ever have anticipated a record-breaking defeat against the All Blacks, whose 2017 has fluctuated between the sublime and the satisfactory.
The All Blacks had produced moments and extended periods of brilliance in beating the British and Irish Lions 30-15 in the first of three Tests, in scoring 40 points in 40 minutes against Australia in Sydney and in scoring 19 tries in three Tests in the Rugby Championship.
This, however, was a near total rugby exhibition over 80 minutes.
Any neutral will appreciate that. Any neutral will applaud the 80 minutes produced by the All Blacks.
South Africans, hurting and embarrassed at the scoreline, will turn to what the Springboks did not do. They’ll condemn the players and the coaching staff and call for everyone to get the bullet. As fans, it’s their right to express this emotion and to feel betrayed after finally starting to believe in the Springboks after all the woe of 2016.
It will be small consolation that the All Blacks left their best for their last home Test of 2017. It’s been a difficult year (by All Blacks standards) and the team has been under pressure to showcase their collective skills in an 80 minutes performance.
They did so in the most emphatic and magnificent manner in Albany.
*The Wallabies came from 13-10 down at halftime to easily beat the Pumas 45-20 in Canberra. It was the Wallabies first win of the 2017 Championship after they lost twice to the All Blacks and drew with the Springboks.
Tries – Nehe Milner-Skudder (2), Rieko Ioane, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi, flyhalf Lima Sopoaga & Codie Taylor
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (7)
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire; 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende