Championship: Springboks show, reassembled and beat the All Blacks

On the last day of the tournament, South Africa beat New Zealand 31-29 (which was already sure of the title) thanks to Jantjies’ football with time out. The Wallabies scramble Argentina (32-17) and finish in second place

Mocked a week ago by a late finish, South Africa repaid the All Blacks with the same coin and with a timed kick they won the match that ended the Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship 31-29. A defeat that interrupts New Zealand’s winning streak, which, however, had already arithmetically won the title last week: in the end they are 5 wins out of 6 for 25 points in the standings. It is the All Blacks’ first defeat since November 2020, when they were beaten by Argentina 25-15.

In the match that had opened the day at Robina’s Cbus Super Stadium (on the Gold Coast), Australia overwhelmed Argentina 32-17 and finished in second place with 18 points, +3 over the Springboks. The Pumas close to zero, in contrast to the latest appearances in the tournament, paying a higher price than the others for the pandemic context in which rugby has been struggling in these two years, in addition to those for the consequences of the political and technical reorganization and strategic of the federation.

Revenge

South Africa starts well and after a placed by Handre Pollard the goal arrives: Codie Taylor loses the ball in his 22, Lukhanyo Am attacks and then with a pass behind his back free Sibu Nkosi, who in turn widens for Damian de Allende who dives to crush (Pollard misses the transformation). At 9 ‘Jordie Barrett shortens a placed, but Pollard responds to him on 12’. A minute after a missed control by Willie le Roux on a high ball gives the oval to the All Blacks at the limit of 22, Beauden Barrett sees space offshore and with a precise kick perfectly kicks Seevu Reece, who only has to collect and dive to crush to the flag on the right (Jordie misses the transformation). Curious enough that the two goals were born from similar and practically free mistakes. But when Beauden Barrett turns on the light it’s a show: the opening sees a hole and leaves, when Duane Vermeulen slaps him free the oval for the support of Rieko Ioane, who jumps a couple of defenders and then in offload offers Ardie Savea the comfortable ride under the goalposts. At 32 ‘Nkosi saves a try by dragging Anton Lienert-Brow out of the field to the left flag. On the launch of Bongi Monambi, however, Scott Barrett anticipates Eben Etzebeth and slaps the oval to the ground, on which the scrum-half Brad Weber swoops who picks it up and manages to reach out to crush despite the desperate attempt by Faf de Klerk. Jordie turns the first and misses the second. At 37 ‘Mbonambi made a mistake again, this time throwing a very interesting touch over the grid just inside the 22 opponents. 90 seconds from the interval, a curious decision by South African coach Jacques Nienaber, who changes the front line as a whole. From the touche then comes a punishment that Pollard puts on for 20-14 on which you go to rest. And the second half opens in the same way, with the placing of -3. Then at 52 ‘the overtaking also arrives: from a touchdown in the 22, a long South African attack, which with a series of breakthrough attempts makes meters and moves slowly from right to center, then de Klerk opens to the outside and is of Elton Jantjies with the assist that frees the dive of the winger Makazole Mapimpi (Pollard misses the transformation). In the 58th minute, Jantjies’ +5 arrived, taking over from Nkosi, while Frans Steyn took the place of le Roux, before an injury forced the captain Siya Kolisi to leave. In the 68th minute, Jordie Barrett shortened a set, then in the 75th minute the extreme gave the All Blacks the lead with a central 25-meter kick. But the twists are not over: two minutes later Hershel Jantjes on the advantage serves Elton who invents the drop from 40 meters for the counter-pass, but on the restart comes the infringement of Franco Mostert that allows Jordie to sign the 29-28. But that’s not all: the All Blacks try to keep possession less than 60 seconds from time, but allow turnover and foul and Steyn finds the touch on the 22 line for the last attack. On which comes the New Zealand offside that offers Elton Jantjies the comfortable place that is worth the last overtaking and the victory.

Triplet

Between Australia and Argentina we start with an error from the pitch each for Emiliano Boffelli and Quade Cooper, who, however, goes back to 10 ‘, then Santiagio Carreras also makes a mistake. Argentina which during the week had been the protagonist of a serious infringement of the strict Australian anti Covid restrictions for travel between different states: Pablo Matera, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Felipe Ezcurra, Sebastian Cancelliere, Santiago Medrano, Santiago Socino and two staff members on the day of rest they crossed the border into New South Wales to stop at Byron Bay and on their return they were obviously stopped and detained. They will only be allowed to rejoin the team tomorrow, when Argentina board the flight that will take them home. The match continued without jolts until the 27th minute: after a series of Australian attacks stopped foul, the yellow card for Tomas Lavanini came to the umpteenth impropriety for a senseless tackle on the support in touch. And so at the third touch in a row launched at the corner, the maul leads the way, then when it seems to fall apart on one side the hooker Folau Faingaa comes out who sees a hole and slips in to crush. One would expect the reaction of the Pumas, instead the Wallabies deal the second blow: long touch by Faingaa who then proposes for recycling, advances a few meters and then unmasks Rob Valetini on his right, who in turn offers the oval to the internal for the perfect insertion and the sprint in goal of the wing Andrew Kellaway. Spectacular action to confirm the excellent work that coach Dave Rennie is carrying out, with the precise desire to restore to Australian rugby those characteristics that had inexplicably been forgotten in recent years. Cooper misses the first transformation and slips the second. At the end, Argentina finally manages to find some continuity in attack and forces the Australians into the 22, but the best that gets out of it is the place that Boffelli signs for the 15-3 on which he goes to rest. The second half opens with the third Australian goal: long attack in the 22 with the forwards that make meters and the backs that widen, up to the magic of Cooper, who in running diagonally holds the ball with a feint for a fraction of more time , the two defenders fail to read and the pass arrives with the perfect timing to free Samu Kerevi’s breakthrough. Cooper also misses this transformation, but the substance is different: since he returned to wear the Australian national team shirt, recalled 4 years after the last cap, in the 4 games of this Championship (including today’s), the 33-year-old from Auckland has proven to be more than ever functional to Rennie’s ideas and to have a class that very few in the world can match. At 54 ‘Kellaway signs the brace with a signature solo: attack deployed and open in the 22, fast ball from Nic White to Cooper, then Valetini serving the wing, pretending to pass towards the man in support along the out , internal step to slip between two opponents and broken tackle to go to crush. 4 minutes pass and the hat-trick arrives: deep touch in the 22, Valetini advances a few meters and widens for Cooper, fast ball for Len Ikitau who on the double tackle invents a pad at the speed of light and his partner only has to complete the job (Cooper transforms the first and the second wrong). The Pumas have a jolt of pride and between 63 ‘and 73’ they hit the goal twice with substitute prop Tomas Gallo, who always solves a couple of good attacks in the 22 firsthand (Boffelli transforms them both). And a last attack arrives with time expired: Michael Hooper stops the opponent’s advance with a professional foul and collects the yellow, the Pumas go to look for the deep touch, then another foul and another throw, but the maul is stopped correctly at two meters from the line. The third goal will not have arrived, but for the team of coach Mario Ledesma it is at least a more honorable way to close a very disappointing tournament.

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Championship: Springboks show, reassembled and beat the All Blacks

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