Steyn leaves All Blacks in a real mess
South Africa 31 New Zealand 19
Monday 03 August 2009
Maybe Francis Bacon summed it up best, all the way back in the 16th century. "Knowledge is power" he wrote, a point South Africa's men demonstrated with clarity on Saturday.
The knowledge that they had the power to smash aside the All Blacks for the second time in seven days played a huge part in their destruction. For decades, this intrinsic self-belief, this knowledge, has been the preserve of the New Zealanders.
Now the boot is on the other foot. The South African line-out was again vastly superior, a factor aided no end by Andrew Hore's poor throwing. Their back-row smashed into the All Blacks, reducing them to heaps on the ground. Few bettered Juan Smith, playing his best game in the Springbok jersey this year.
Then there was the man who has lifted the South African game up a notch, Heinrich Brussow, whose presence as a genuine fetcher has been the surprise package of the Springboks' Tri-Nations campaign.
It was the Morne Steyn (right) show, the recalled fly-half scoring all 31 points with a record breaking eight penalty goals, one try and a conversion. Yet it was so much more than that. Steyn didn't beat Richie McCaw on the ground, his presence didn't terrify the New Zealand line-out thrower, he didn't smash down players all over the field.
But what he did he achieved with aplomb, ensuring the pressure on the All Blacks which forced so many mistakes was turned immediately into points.
New Zealand did actually take an early 10-3 lead, through a superb team try finished by lock Isaac Ross after a 65-metre move. But their constant mistakes undermined whatever chance they may have had. By half time, they trailed 22-13, Steyn scoring the only Springbok try from a five-metre scrum. Thereafter, the Springboks were always in control, even when the All Blacks closed to 25-19.
If New Zealanders believe a single lifeboat named "The Daniel W Carter" can rescue their floundering All Blacks ship, then they need to think again. I counted 47 mistakes by the All Blacks, 28 in the first half. You can't win any game with such indiscipline.
The All Blacks' back three offered a bizarre mix of audacious counter-attacking running and alarming, crazy errors all at the same time.
So while it was true that the aggression, hunger and desire came from South Africa, all they had to do to win was wait for the next New Zealand transgression and whistle up Steyn.
Richie McCaw admitted: "It was tough. The pressure got on top of us and we made vital mistakes. You can't afford to do that."
His South African counterpart John Smit added:"We went back to a lot of our basics and that worked. It gave us a lot of help. And Morne Steyn was wonderful, it was like having Percy Montgomery on the field."
Scorers: South Africa: Try: M Steyn Conversion: M Steyn. Penalty Goals: M Steyn (8) New Zealand: Try: Ross Conversion: Donald Pen. Goals: Donald (3) McAlister.
South Africa: F Steyn; JP Pietersen, J Fourie (W Olivier, 78), J De Villiers (A Jacobs, 71), B Habana; M Steyn, F Du Preez (R Januarie, 78); T Mtawarira, B Du Plessis (C Ralepelle, 79), J Smit (capt) (J Du Plessis, 77), B Botha (A Bekke, 77), V Matfield, H Brussow, J Smith (D Rossouw, 66), P Spies.
New Zealand: M Muliaina; J Rokocoko, C Smith, M Nonu, S Sivivatu; S Donald (L McAlister, 61), J Cowan (P Weepu, 44); A Woodcock, A Hore (K Mealamu, 44–77), O Franks (J Afoa, 66), B Thorn, I Ross, J Kaino (K Read 60), R McCaw (capt), R So'oialo.
Referee: N Owens (Wales).
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