THE Springboks are still the only team that has never lost all their games in a Castle Tri-Nations season when they beat New Zealand by 18-5 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
In 1998, New Zealand lost all four their games, while the same happened to Australia in 2005.
Morne Steyn kicked all the Boks’ points, with five penalty goals and one dropped goal. He did not miss a kick at goal as the Boks kept their record of never having lost to NZ in Port Elizabeth.
For New Zealand, Richard Kahui scored their only try.
The Boks built their victory on a very strong forward performance, while their defence, especially when scrambling, was also very good.
Bok coach Peter de Villiers was very satisfied afterwards. “Tonight’s victory is just reward for what we’re trying to achieve. The support was great, and we needed this win. A result like this creates belief.
“But we’re still on a learning curve. The fact that we scrummed well tonight showed we are on the right track. As usual our lineout was outstanding, better than last week. We created a strong platform and managed to get into their half and create opportunities to score points. That is how rugby will be played at the Rugby World Cup.”
Victor Matfield, who captained the Boks against NZ and played his last Test in South Africa, was happy with the way in which his team mates put their bodies on the line.
“That is what Test rugby is about. Teams like the All Blacks will always make linebreaks, but for us it’s about how you react to that and we certainly put our bodies on the line. We got back to defend and did it well,” said Matfield.
“But we still need a lot of improvement before the World Cup. We needed this, as did the fans. You feel the pressure when you lose three Tests in a row. It wasn’t easy and there was doubt, but this was great for our confidence and hopefully we can build from here.”
Matfield was asked about how this result could influence a possible RWC semifinal against New Zealand in Auckland. He said: “We know that you can’t look too far ahead. Our next game is against Wales and that’s the important one for us.”-Sarugby.net