Saturday, 16 December, 2017

All Blacks squeeze past Springboks 25-24 for clean sweep

Steve Hansen says his South Africa counterpart is playing mind games Steve Hansen says his South Africa counterpart is playing mind games
Edmund Wade | 10 October, 2017, 00:08

Whitelock, Cane, Squire and Crotty all slotted back into the starting lineup for tomorrow's clash in Cape Town, with the team essentially the same one that destroyed the Springboks 57-0 in Auckland last month.

'The young fellas all came in and we played extraordinary rugby and it was a breeze, ' he said.

A try from Jean-Luc du Preez midway through the second half put South Africa in front 17-15 before Damian McKenzie restored New Zealand's lead.

"It's tough lessons that we're learning", Springboks coach Allister Coetzee said.

"We're looking to play a team that will be hurting incredibly, I would suggest, after Albany and we need to make sure that we meet that and continue on growing and developing ourselves", Hansen said. "We just needed two 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.

The champs also came through after losing playmaker Beauden Barrett to a head knock midway through the first half, and unsafe winger Nehe Milner-Skudder to a dislocated right shoulder at the end of the half. We can fix some things, like the scrum.

The next challenge is finding consistency and matching this type of ferociously focused performance every time they take to the field. "We kicked well, we only had one contestable that did not work out and in the end, we were two points short".

"We started the second half at the 50-minute mark so we weren't going to muck around, we were going to get the subs on fairly quickly so that is what we did".

'While we've played some rugby for 80 minutes and played really well, there's been other games where we've played for 60 and clocked off. 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'.

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