The Springboks record-breaking win at Twickenham over the All Blacks was a massive momentum boost for them ahead of the Rugby World Cup, but it also has killed off any chance they will go into the tournament under the radar.
The Boks inflicted the worst defeat in the All Blacks’ history with the 35-7 win and while they will go into the showpiece tournament as either the No 1 or two ranked side in the world – depending on Ireland’s match against Samoa – they will have raised many eyebrows with their demolition of the New Zealand juggernaut, which until Friday night was considered the favourites for France 2023.
But with that victory, coupled with another record-breaking win over Wales a week earlier, the Boks have put all their Rugby World Cup rivals on notice ahead of the start of the tournament, and shown their intent that they intend on defending the title they won in 2019. While the scoreline isn’t really the point, it will be no surprise to their opposition that the Boks rush defence was exceptional on the night and the pressure they suffocated the All Blacks with was precisely the type of rugby that wins you World Cups.
HARD WORK AHEAD
But they were also the first to acknowledge that there is a lot of hard work ahead.
The Boks missed 40 tackles on the night, although their scramble defence worked to a tee, while they left points on the board – especially in the opening 20 minutes that could be costly in a closely fought World Cup game.
It’s hard to be critical after such a performance, but the Boks themselves admitted they will need to still be better if they want to defend their title.
“This is the type of test we wanted before the World Cup. As we mentioned, Wales are one style of play to play against and the All Blacks are a different style more continuity and a physical setpiece battle.
“We got exactly what we wanted,” coach Jacques Nienaber said.
They now have confidence and a load of players who are in form and exceptional competition for positions.
The only thing left is the toughest. To retain their World Cup – SuperSport.