All Blacks thumped by the Springboks at Twickenham

This might be one of the All Blacks’ darkest days in the Ian Foster era. –Finn Morton

By Roger Childs

By Roger Childs

There was one highlight for the New Zealanders in their record 7-35 defeat at the hands of South Africa. Late in the game replacement half- back Cam Roigard ducked under a tackle just inside the All Black half, then beat three defenders in running 50 metres to score by the posts. It was the try of the match, but unfortunately it was the team’s only score while the Springboks got five.

There were 80,000 spectators at England’s home ground Twickenham, but sadly they were treated to a one-sided clash because of the ill-discipline of the All Blacks, the red card to Scott Barrett and some pedantic rulings by English referee Matthew Carley.

Nonetheless, the Springboks were superior in all aspects of the game and understandably took advantage of the All Blacks errors, ill-discipline and loss of Scott Barrett.

Refereeing decisions go against the All Blacks

The Springboks were hot on attack in the first quarter and the All Blacks were warned after infringing three times. When the next penalty was awarded, Scott Barrett was given a yellow card as punishment for the team, not because he committed any offence. Then some minutes later captain Sam Cane was sent off because of an infringement. Surely it should have been just a penalty as the team had already been punished for the earlier issues.

Then later in the half after Barrett had returned, Referee Matthew Carley gave him another yellow card for a shoulder charge into a ruck. Two yellow cards for committing offences usually means a red card and banishment for the rest of the game, but Barrett’s first yellow was against the team, not him personally. However, Carley’s ruling stood and the All Blacks played the entire second half with fourteen men.

Against a team as strong as the Springboks you can’t win with a player less, and if it is a forward, your scrum with one short is going to pushed all over the place and be penalized almost every time.

The All Blacks thought they had scored late in the first half when winger Will Jordan crossed the line on the left flank. But the officials ruled that there had been a knock-on when Mark Telea gathered the ball from behind the ruck at the start of the movement. It was another debatable decision. If the try had been allowed, it would have been 14-7 at half time not 14-0.

Looking ahead

The defeat at the hands of the Springboks was not the warm-up to the September – October World Cup that the All Blacks had been wanting. This was a poor performance by the New Zealand team and the only player to come out of the game with any credit was replacement half-back Cam Roigard and he was only on the field for about 15 minutes.

There are very clear lessons to be learned from the Twickenham match. Obviously there is a need for better discipline, reducing mistakes and the need to realize that northern hemisphere referees may make different rulings compared to the men who adjudicate matches south of the Equator.New Zealand’s first game in the World Cup is against favourites France on their home turf in Paris. The team showed occasional glimpses of what they are capable of in the Twickenham match, but unless they can keep 15 players on the field for the entire 80 minutes they don’t stand a chance.