Rugby world reaction: 'Victory of willpower'

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    08 Oct 2018     Getty Images

However, at least one critic, former England and British & Irish Lions international Stuart Barnes believes the All Blacks were tired but whether that was because of their travel schedule in the last fortnight, or their season overall, remained to be seen.

Reaction was:

Stuart Barnes, Sky Sports: "They didn't play well, they were outplayed by South Africa in just about every aspect of this game. What they have is a belief and that comes from winning and winning and winning. And somehow they were able to extricate their minds from what happened in Wellington. Apart from the Rieko Ioane try we didn't see any of the magical New Zealand. This was a victory of willpower and yes they weren't at their best but we saw another New Zealand today and when you get to World Cups sometimes you need that capacity. We doubted that after Wellington, they proved it today.

"A champion team is a vulnerable team. I've just got a feeling New Zealand are a little bit tired…I just get a feeling they're a little bit vulnerable. If a team can take them on up front I think they could be there for the taking."

Nick Mallett, SA SuperSport: "A bit of ill-discipline crept into our game. We had a couple of turnovers at the breakdown, they had a few phenomenal kicks into the corner. We have to compliment this All Blacks team. It is heartbreaking for the Springboks who play so phenomenally, but let's give credit to the All Blacks.

"When they decided to hold onto the ball among their forwards, with the close quarter driving play that they have, every player had a support player on his shoulder. It doesn't matter if they made half a metre or a metre, they scored two tries from it. We had similar situations and we turned the ball over. So their close-quarter control of the ball and a bit of ill-discipline from us won them the game.

"A technical point on the last two tries that they scored; that had a lot to do with experience. Their forwards drive past the ball, So the player goes to ground and the cleaner goes well past the ball. The next guy that picks and goes, runs into that hole. It's so closely packed together that it's hard to call it obstruction. Perhaps we stick too closely to the laws, we clean over the ball, they clean past the ball and that opens up the opportunity. It is hard to see, but that is the kind of experience we will learn in a year under Rassie [Erasmus]."

Bryan Habana, Sunday Independent: "Rassie has thrown the net wide, given international experience to a lot of players, and he'll know who he can call on in the next year, leading up to the World Cup. The core is there, and it's been here for a while, but it's crucial some other players have had a taste of Test rugby. By the start of next year, he'll have a good idea of his best 23 – a smart move on Rassie's part.

"Everyone is looking at New Zealand to be the title runners next year…but the Boks winning in Wellington will be incredibly important.

"We also won there in 2008 and the next year, 2009, was a very successful one for us. The Boks will be a confident bunch now, and they'll have belief that they can beat the best. It's going to be tough for them in Japan, but South Africans are a resilient bunch, and they'll believe they can go all the way."

Liam del Carme, SA Sunday Times: "The All Blacks' standing experienced some mild tremors when these teams last met and yesterday they were exposed to a full-blown seismic event until they summoned enough courage and energy to win this match.

"For a team that had travelled just under 20,000km in the last fortnight it was a truly monumental comeback, leaving Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus to perhaps lament his decision to withdraw man of the match Malcolm Marx from battle when the team needed him most.

"Despite the defeat the Springboks proved themselves as disrupters to rugby's world order."