Home Sport All Blacks game suffering because of SA’s absence from Super Rugby

All Blacks game suffering because of SA’s absence from Super Rugby

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The Springboks have the forward arsenal to see off the All Blacks in Nelspruit and at Ellis Park, because what was evident is that the Irish physically bullied the Kiwi’s in the same way that the Boks most certainly can, writes Mike Greenaway.

New Zealand’s Samuel Whitelock (left) reacts after their loss during the third game against Ireland which saw them lose the series. Picture: Marty Melville, AFP

Durban – The last time the All Blacks lost a home series was in 1994 against France, and two weeks later they took out their frustrations on the Springboks, bouncing back strongly to win a series 2-0, with one Test drawn.

History has a strange knack for repeating itself, but let’s hope that is not the case when the latest All Blacks team to be hurting from a home series defeat – this time to Ireland – arrives in South Africa shortly for two Rugby Championship matches against the Boks in a fortnight’s time.

I have a feeling, though, that things will be different this time and that the Boks have the forward arsenal to see off the Kiwis in Nelspruit and at Ellis Park, because what was evident is that the Irish physically bullied the All Blacks in the same way that the Boks most certainly can.

I am certain that the New Zealand game has suffered because of the absence of the South African teams from Super Rugby. This year, a number of Kiwi coaches have said that they have missed the physical confrontation presented by their old foe and I reckon that manifested as a serious weakness in the series against the Irish.

It is interesting that the knives were out for All Black coach Ian Foster last year when his team lost to Argentina for the first time but when the All Blacks responded by twice beating the Wallabies, all was deemed to be okay once more, and Foster’s contract was extended until the end of 2023.

But those victories over the Australians gave the Kiwis a false sense of security because those were not physical encounters — they were very loose games and the All Blacks revelled in the counter-attacking opportunities that kind of game provided.

The All Blacks then looked very mortal in the 100th anniversary Test against the Boks — Siya Kolisi’s team were their own worst enemies in that match and really ought to have closed it out instead of giving Jordie Barrett a last-minute penalty to secure victory. The Boks then won the “return” match between the teams a week later.

Since then, most of South Africa’s players have been involved in either the United Rugby Championship, French Top 14 or English Premiership, with all of those European competitions providing stiff physical contests.

The New Zealanders and the Australians have played among themselves in a very different Super Rugby, with a sprinkling of competition from Samoa and Fiji, and I think that is significant that both the All Blacks and Wallabies proceeded to lose home series to European competition, while the Boks beat Wales 2-1 and it would have been 3-0 if there had not been tinkering with the team for the second Test.

Lest we forget, it was New Zealand that was in such a hurry to ditch the SA and Argentinian teams from Super Rugby when Covid-19 struck because it suited them to play only against Australia at that time.

Well if they had forgotten this fact in the Land of the Long White Cloud, they will be painfully remembering now…

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