All Blacks effort sets the pace for rest to follow

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Some of the comments are listed below:

 

South Africa Rugby Magazine:

 

"The Boks will leave Yokohama with nothing but regrets. While the All Blacks deserve credit for making their chances count, the Boks must be wondering how they let so many great scoring opportunities – and ultimately the opportunity to bank a monumental victory – slip through their fingers. The Boks dominated the All Blacks – both tactically and physically – for much of the first quarter. The defence hassled the All Blacks halfbacks and forced the outside backs to lose possession well behind the gainline on several occasions…the All Blacks, by contrast, scored 17 in the space of six minutes. A spell of brilliance by the New Zealanders – which, to be fair, came on the back of South Africa's mistakes and inaccuracies – determined the flow and outcome of the game."

 

Sunday Times (South Africa):

 

"News of the All Blacks' demise has been greatly exaggerated after they answered critics with a clinical 23-23 win over the Springboks in their Rugby World Cup 2019 opener in Yokohama on Saturday. The contest was a lot tighter than the 10-point winning margin suggested…The Boks were punished for their mistakes as New Zealand did what New Zealand do – scored against the run of play with the merest whiff of a chance...New Zealand were more ruthless and held their nerve never better than SA when under pressure. The Boks will have to make history now if they go on to win RWC 2019 because no side has ever won the tournament after losing a pool match."

 

The Rugby Paper:

 

"New Zealand posted notice that their bid for a third successive World Cup title is alive and well by ruthlessly seeing off a South African side predicted to be their main challengers. Some of the sheen surrounding the Springboks was rubbed off when a devastating two try jail-break by the reigning world champions in five minutes midway through the first half saw wing George Bridge and lock Scott Barrett touch down for a 17-3 lead in Yokohama. It left the Boks having to play catch-up for the remainder of the match."

 

The Sunday Telegraph (Sir Ian McGeechan):

 

"What I most enjoyed about the game was what it threw up from a tactical perspective. Even since the warm-up games a few weeks ago things have clearly moved on, and the coaches have come up with solutions to problems. In particular, I thought the variety of both teams' kicking games was impressive. With defences so strong these days, and line speed so fast, you have to find other ways of moving defenders about and creating gaps…But what the All Blacks and South Africa were doing yesterday was using the cross-kick and the kick-to-compete as an attacking weapon earlier in phases to build momentum…There was very little kicking tennis. They were not just looking for territory. It was kicking with real intent. When you received it, if there was space at all, you countered, even if it was from behind your own try line. If you could win a turnover, you attacked immediately."

 

The Observer:

 

"After the final gong had sounded on this rousing contest, New Zealand's players still had the presence of mind to walk slowly around the emptying stadium, respectfully bowing to everyone present. It should have been the other way around; those lucky enough to witness this gripping game owed all the ferociously committed players involved a collective vote of thanks. Respect is certainly due to the All Blacks for the first-half attacking excellence that, crucially, delivered 14 points inside four minutes just before the half-hour after South Africa had given the defending champions a serious early pounding…The abiding lesson is that it will take something extra special from a third party to prevent these nations from returning to this same stadium for the final on 2 November."

 

The Sunday Times (London):

 

"The match showed how wickedly difficult it is to beat New Zealand but it also showed, in the period of South African domination, that it can be done. The forward play has to be spot on, the power runners such as Duane Vermeulen and Damian de Allende have to be thundering around the field and [Faf] de Klerk has to be mixing up his game, running himself, getting the ball away more quickly than he did yesterday, and turning the tide in the aerial battle with only his best kicks…And as well as the contrasts elsewhere, the difference in pace between the sides must have been obvious to anyone watching both live and on television…New Zealand not only had far more raw pace, but they also had changes of pace."

 

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