It took a few days, but here are the visual numbers. Another tight game where no one seemed to get the upper hand in set pieces - perhaps a victory for Aussie there. The Boks just couldn’t get the edge, though the TMO denied Fourie by the slimmest of margins. Both sides goal kicking also looked rusty which kept a few points off the scoreboard.
For me, that Aussie midfield pulled off some mean tackling. I have been quite non-plussed with their midfield - Ashley-Cooper is no Mortlock for me, and 12-13 just seemed to be an offensive weakness. Last weekend they just got on with it. The thing I like is that while all the hot doggin outside backs and Quade Coopers of this world get all the Twitter follows and press column inches ... a bloke like Pat McCabe is quietly going about his job and getting better each week.
South Africa? Who knows? This could be such a different team, and maybe from next year it will start to rebuild around the youngsters liek Broussow, Aplon, Lambie etc. But for now it looks like P Divvy will simply revert to type, with Morne Steyn behind a big, big, hungry pack. And you know what? ... in a drag down, bar brawl of a semi, who knows ... its worked for them before.
This weekend our B team(?) takes on the Boks and its X Factor in more ways than one: Jane, Kahui, Toeava may all get last chances to shine before the squad of 30 is picked next week. However, the Last Chance Saloon should surely also be observing Sonny Bill Williams. He needs a special game this weekend. As of yet I don’t think he has done enough in the Test arena to warrant the selection everyone else thinks he deserves.
Nonu is a better 12, Smith a better centre, Toeava & Kahui can cover fullback and wing between them ... as can Corey Jane. SBW is a devastating player, but seriously, in a big knockout match, on defence, with that tendency to fly in with no hands ... the cards may come out. Good luck to him though.
Go the All Blacks.