Springboks inflict biggest defeat on All Blacks

The All Blacks have suffered their biggest loss in their 102-year Test history, with the Springboks thrashing New Zealand 35-7 in London. 

South Africa put in a masterclass of forward power at Twickenham on Saturday morning (NZ time) at their Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture at neutral Twickenham. 

It was a performance that serves as a warning to the Kiwis as they prepare to defend their World Cup title in France as they scored five tries through captain Siya Kolisi, wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, hookers Malcolm Marx and Bongi Mbonambi and flanker Kwagga Smith.

Scott Barrett is ordered off. Photo: Reuters
Scott Barrett is ordered off. Photo: Reuters
New Zealand played the entire second half with 14 players after lock Scott Barrett received a second yellow card, equating to a red, as they had no answer to the Springboks’ intensity and set-piece domination.

Replacement back Cam Roigard scored a consolation try for New Zealand, but coach Ian Foster will be alarmed at how his first choice selection were second best in every facet of the game ahead of their World Cup opener with France in Paris on September 8. 

"We were not going to come to Twickenham in front of 82,000 people and hold anything back," Kolisi said. "We knew it had to start up front with the forwards, but we also know the hard work starts now. We have to defend the World Cup in France."

South Africa's previous biggest win over the All Blacks was 17-0 in 1928.

Replacement wing Cam Roigard scored the All Blacks' only try. Photo: Getty Images
Replacement wing Cam Roigard scored the All Blacks' only try. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand's previous record loss was 28-7 to Australia in 1999 and while it will not quite be alarm bells in their camp, it was an uncharacteristically limp performance.

South Africa lost replacement fullback Willie le Roux in the warm-up with Kwagga Smith taking his place on the bench, giving the Boks an unprecedented 7-1 split between forwards and backs, turning their ‘Bomb Squad’ nuclear.

And so it proved as they all came on in one swoop in the second half and were able to subdue New Zealand further with relentless pressure.

Eight penalties and outplayed 

The tone was set early on as the All Blacks conceded the first eight penalties in the game and were pinned in their half.

The Boks had the upper hand in the scrum and line-out, and were held up twice over the All Blacks’ line before they scored their first try.

Kolisi barged his way over from close range, while Arendse’s quick feet saw him intercept on the edge of the New Zealand 22 and sprint in to score under the posts for a 14-0 halftime lead.

South Africa’s three second-half tries all came from line-outs as they powered their way through the wilting All Blacks defence that battled with their numerical disadvantage.

Ethan de Groot (left) and Beauden Barrett look dejected as South Africa lift the Qatar Airways...
Ethan de Groot (left) and Beauden Barrett look dejected as South Africa lift the Qatar Airways cup after the match. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
"We are really disappointed with how we performed, but a lot of credit must go to how the Springboks played. They were dominant in all facets and our discipline really hurt us," All Blacks captain Sam Cane said.

"Their ability to dominate the scrum, maul and lineout made it hard for us to get anything going. It stings, but we are going to have to learn a lot from this game. I would rather have it now than in a few weeks' time.

"The only good that can come out of it is if we have a good, honest review. Next week will be a really important one in terms of preparation."

Foster looks for positives

New Zealand are sweating on the fitness of prop Tyrel Lomax  as coach Ian Foster looked for positives from their limp display.

"You couldn't help but be impressed with what they (South Africa) did, they really got stuck into us tonight," he told reporters. "Their physicality and their set-piece was superb and they had a massive game at scrum and line-out time. That was a big difference."

An injury in the warm-up to fullback Willie le Roux saw the Boks add a seventh forward to their bench in the form of Kwagga Smith and with almost an entirely new pack in the second half they were able to dominate up front for the full 80 minutes.

"The (7-1) split certainly helped them," Foster said. "We went with 6-2 and we needed that because we had a few dings up front.

"Both teams put a lot into that game, it was a great spectacle. Two weeks out from a World Cup it is going to prepare both of us really well. It was a massive performance from South Africa and they deserve credit for it."

Lomax left the contest early in the first half with a deep cut to his leg and Foster said there was some concern over it.

"Lomax has quite a nasty cut. It is very significant and so we'll have to wait and see and cross our fingers on that," he added.

Despite the scoreline, Foster believed the game would be beneficial to his side as they head to France.

"I think both teams needed that game, we certainly did. We lost the cohesion when we were put under pressure, but I thought our defence in the first 20 minutes was outstanding and if we had more discipline in key areas we could have counter-punched.

"But they forced us into errors and that caused us problems."

Kwagga Smith celebrates with his teammates after scoring South Africa's fifth try at Twickenham....
Kwagga Smith celebrates with his teammates after scoring South Africa's fifth try at Twickenham. Photo: Getty Images

Nienaber sees room for improvement

South Africa are not reading too much into their record victory over New Zealand, with coach Jacques Nienaber believing there is still room for improvement before they play Scotland in their World Cup opener in Marseille on September 10.

The Boks bounced back from a 35-20 loss to the All Blacks in Auckland in the Rugby Championship last month and showed they had learned the lessons from that defeat.

"After the last game against New Zealand we had to adjust a few things and we made some plans," Nienaber said. "The players came with some good suggestions, and the coaches as well. We found some solutions, some worked and others didn’t.

"But ultimately we don’t get a single point at the World Cup for tonight. I think New Zealand will feel the same. It is what it is, an opportunity to prepare for France, nothing more than that."

Nienaber felt his side’s execution in the opening 20 minutes, when they were camped in the All Blacks’ 22, could have been better.

"We had a lot of opportunities in the first 20 minutes. In the whole game we had eight (scoring) opportunities and were held up (over the try line) twice," he said

"In the World Cup you get only four or five opportunities and you have to capitalise on them. That is something we will try and fix in the next two weeks."