It had been billed as a blackwash by some factions of the New Zealand and Australian media – yet once again the All Blacks failed to click and put in a frustrating display, ridden with messy handling errors and not enough go-forward against a spirited second string Springbok side.
The South African defence was excellent, and although this team (predictably) didn’t invade the All Black backline with any attacking potency; they did manage to hold the NZers to just a six point advantage before the floodgates opened around the 70th minute.
Subs Evans, Leonard and Collins (the former two scoring tries much to the crowd’s relief) brought a fresh dimension to a spluttering All Black backline and finally this team was ignited into showing some of the skills they have been promising all season.
Pity that the ignition came with five minutes left on the clock remaining. There are interesting questions about this All Black outfit still not answered and disquiet is beginning to brew in NZ. Maybe we should believe the hype and Bob Dwyer – have the All Blacks peaked too soon? And are they are a team in decline?