All Blacks take South Africa apart for record win

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Lynn McConnell     16 Sep 2017     Getty Images

Scoring eight tries without answer, the All Blacks extended their run of wins over South Africa to eight in succession in New Zealand and retained the Freedom Cup. But more importantly they sent the Springboks back to the drawing board after suffering an even more humiliating defeat than those inflicted last year.


South Africa's lineout struggled all night, their scrum was similarly exposed and in field play they were unable to break the home defence.

But the All Blacks demonstrated the skills difference that makes them so destructive on their night and Saturday exorcised a lot of the demons that have afflicted the side this year – although they still have suffered only one loss.

So much was expected of the Springboks but they were able to offer very little

South Africa started with all their usual physicality, but there was a helter-skelter desperation that overtook their execution at a time when a little more control might have resulted in more reward.

They did not seem as comfortable in their up-tempo game and for that they were punished by a slicker and more intuitive All Blacks team who demonstrated the difference in class, and execution, in scoring four superb first-half tries to get out to a 31-0 lead at the break.

Typical of the speed of thought was halfback Aaron Smith's racing in when a 16th minute penalty was awarded to the All Blacks just inside the Springbok half. He tapped and then kicked into wide open real estate in the South African rear. So comprehensive was New Zealand's awareness that wing Rieko Ioane and fullback Damian McKenzie almost had the chase to themselves. It was Ioane who coolly assessed the bounce, grabbed the ball and scored.
South Africa attacked from the restart and were building phases when wing Nehe Milner-Skudder intercepted a blindside pass and set out 65m from the line. When challenged by the closing defence, Barrett was on hand to switch back infield and then complete an elegant back-hand reverse pass to Milner-Skudder who scored.

Good build-up work on the drive by both flanker Sam Cane and centre Ryan Crotty created momentum for Barrett to slip a cross kick to the wing where Coles batted the ball down over the head of Courtnall Skosan. Milner-Skudder was able to tidy and then flick a bass to Scott Barrett, who had come on as an HIA replacement for Liam Squire. He treaded softly along the sideline to score.

Then two minutes later, when Beauden Barrett took the ball in his own 22m area and flung a long pass to Ioane, he slipped through a gap and passed to Coles whose speed took him deep into the Springboks half and able to slip an in-pass to lock Brodie Retallick who completed the scoring in an outstanding half for the All Blacks.

South Africa pushed the ball again at the start of the second half but a powerful All Blacks lineout drive, while not immediately producing results, did set up more constructive play, including a superb kick to the corner by McKenzie, and a set move from a lineout which after several charges at the goal-line saw the ball moved wide where Milner-Skudder dived in at the corner for the try.

The skills in the squad were demonstrated in the Springboks 22m area where replacement tighthead prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi showed perfect understanding in timing his pass and replacement hooker Codie Taylor almost scored. But from the scrum it was Tu'ungafasi who drove over to score.

That theme continued in the 73rd minute when replacement centre Anton Lienert-Brown broke into the Springboks 22m area and when finally halted he slipped a pass to replacement first five-eighths Lima Sopoaga who scored.

The coup de grace was delivered by Taylor from a post-fulltime lineout from a penalty. The drive of the All Blacks encapsulated their dominance on the night.

Scorers: New Zealand 57 (Rieko Ioane, Nehe Milner-Skudder 2, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Lima Sopoaga, Codie Taylor tries; Beauden Barrett 7 con, pen) South Africa 0. HT: 31-0