International Rugby, Opinions

All Blacks praise proud Springboks

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen applauded the intensity of the Springboks and labelled South Africa a quality side after his team sneaked a one point victory in Cape Town.

Hansen said the match was also another reminder to the younger players in his team about being switched on for every test match. He said that if any team arrived without intensity, the All Blacks included, they were vulnerable.

‘What we saw tonight was if everyone is in the right mindset the Boks are a very good team. What it showed us is we’ve got to be in the right mindset otherwise we’re vulnerable. That’s the same with every team,’ said Hansen.

Hansen said his team had shown great character after being forced to make 52 more tackles (144 in total) than the Boks.

‘You get greater pleasure when you see people performing under pressure. You want contests. Tonight we know we won a test match where both teams really played well. When you win those games, there’s probably a bit more satisfaction.

‘We tried to tell anyone that would listen Albany, even though the score looked ridiculous, it wasn’t reflective of how the game went. In that game we took every opportunity and tonight we didn’t.’

All Blacks captain Kieran Read said his players lacked the intensity of the Springboks.

‘In Albany they were there for maybe 20 or 40 minutes but they kept coming tonight. They are a quality side when they get that roll on and momentum and it was hard for us to stem that so we’ll look at how we can do that later on.’

All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams, on social media, thanks the Springboks and South African fans for a Test match the All Blacks wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

The All Blacks, ranked one in the world, won the Rugby Championship with 28 from a possible 30 points. The Springboks, ranked fourth, finished the tournament third out of four teams, with two wins against the Pumas, two draws against Australia and two defeats against the All Blacks.

This was the All Blacks 11th win in the last 12 matches against the Springboks and their fifth win in the last six in South Africa.


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