A tense Rugby Championship 2019 game in Wellington New Zealand produced a draw between the All Blacks and Springboks. The quality was a little questionable, but the intensity was incredible.
New Zealand 16 South Africa 16
New Zealand – Try: Jack Goodhue Conversion: Beauden Barrett Penalties: Barrett and Richie Mo’unga 2.
South Africa – Try: Herschel Jantjies; Conversion: Handre Pollard; Penalties: Pollard 3
?? HERSCHEL JANTJIES DOES IT AGAIN!
A try at the death followed by a calm conversion from Handre Pollard has meant that the #RugbyChampionship test between the @AllBlacks and the @Springboks has finished in a 16-all draw. pic.twitter.com/j0dEdqU3W3
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) July 27, 2019
Both teams are very evidently still working on their Rugby World Cup plans. Neither side would have shown all of what they will have to offer in Japan in just a few months. Ryan Jordan considers a few points coming out of this game.
Mixed teams and rusty
Neither side necessarily used their starting 15 for the Rugby World Cup. Both coaches are still tinkering with their squads with a view to making the final decision on their touring squad to Japan.
The Springboks handed starting positions to a number of players who have been idle since the end of their European competitions. The All Blacks rested their Crusaders players for the Jaguares game in Argentina and brought them into the fray against the Springboks.
The All Blacks in particular were inaccurate in the first hand, committing an unusual amount of handling errors. The Springboks should take a little credit for this as a number of those handling errors were forced by their aggressive defense.
A story of two defenses
Some fans will have been disappointed that this game produced only two tries. What we did witness though was two very strong defensive systems that shut down scoring opportunities. It took two individual moments of brilliance from each team to break the defensive line to be able to score.
The Springboks dominated the first half, but were unable to build up a significant lead as the All Blacks held them out. The All Blacks returned the favour in the second half, dominating the game. It was the Springboks turn to hold their hosts out. A draw was probably a fair reflection of the game.
It is an old adage, but Rugby World Cup success is built on a solid defense.
#RugbyChampionship – HALFTIME:
New Zealand 7-6 South Africa
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) July 27, 2019
Eighteen months ago, Springbok fans had no hope. Their best team was not clear, eclipsed only by the uncertainty over what type of game their team was trying to play. Poor decisions were made at a management level to focus only on home based players, unless an overseas based player had played a minimum of thirty Tests. Thankfully, the overseas selection policy was changed. The South African Rand has no chance of competing against stronger European currencies.
During his tenure, Head Coach Rassie Erasmus has built a squad with strength in depth. Erasmus can only take 31 of his current squad with him to the Rugby World Cup. This time, there will be players who will be genuinely unlucky to miss out on selection.
Ref calls in question
There has been a lot of discussion regarding a few of referee Nic Berry’s decisions. We will focus on three here, all of which he got right.
Brodie Retalick injury
Retalick’s injury was very unfortunate. Was RG Snyman’s ruck clean out dangerous? Yes. Was it legal according to the laws of the game? Also yes. Berry did check with TMO Rowan Kitt at the time, who adjudged that there had been no foul play. The laws of the game are in question, not the referees decision or Snyman’s intent.
The knock on that wasn’t
The penalty that the All Blacks were awarded for Springbok wing Makazola Mapimpi not rolling away from the ruck after a perceived knock on was indeed the incorrect decision. Looking at the footage, Mapimpi can be seen ripping the ball in the tackle while he was on the ground. The decision would therefore still be a penalty to the All Blacks for playing the ball on the ground.
This is the alleged missed “knock on”.
IMO it’s not a knoc-on but a penalty against Mapimpi for a rip off his feet. pic.twitter.com/cHzB7Tl2Du
— Runningflyhalf (@Runningflyhalf) July 27, 2019
The try that was
There is a currently a picture doing the rounds where it looks like Beauden Barrett steps on the touchline in the lead up to Jack Goodhue’s try. This pic is not shown on any credible rugby site. It is a pretty convincing picture. Until you take a look at pictures from different angles. Definitely no chalk dust on Barrett’s boots.
Rugby Championship 2019
The Rugby Championship goes into it’s final round on Saturday 10 August, with the All Blacks taking on Australia in Perth and the Springboks travelling to Salta in Argentina to take on Los Pumas.
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