The five oustanding lessons from round two of the Castle Rugby Championship, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.
1. It's a myth that the All Blacks don't kick
There are still some who see the world champions as a team that plays expansive rugby and never puts boot to ball. In Wellington, the All Blacks kicked 30 times out of hand and gained a total of 991m by doing so. Yes, they also had 47 runs, from which they gained 308m, but the point is that they do not run the ball every time they get it. They have a balanced game plan, which is why they are the No 1-ranked team and so difficult to beat.
2. The Springboks should have kicked more in Mendoza
The Boks kicked just 19 times against the Pumas and almost lost the game as a result. They tried to play too much rugby with ball in hand and when they did kick, their kick-chase was poor, with Bryan Habana the lone chaser. The Boks should have taken the sting out of the fired-up Pumas by keeping them pinned inside their own half with good tactical kicking and then attacking once inside their 22.
3. The All Blacks are happy to concede three points instead of five
The Wallabies often got close to the All Blacks' tryline in Wellington only for the latter to concede a cynical penalty. Referee Jaco Peyper should have shown a yellow card on at least two occasions, but didn't have the balls to do so in front of a capacity Kiwi crowd. Hopefully the Springboks make a noise about this before their Test against the world champions in Auckland.
4. If you have technology, use it
How many times this year has a referee referred a try to the TMO when it was clear as daylight that it had been scored? Yet when Stephen Moore went over for the Wallabies in the seventh minute of Saturday's Test, Peyper refused to go upstairs, even when his assistant referee recommended he do so and the Wallabies protested angrily. Had that try been awarded (and it may well have been) the Wallabies would have gained valuable early momentum. Instead, they had to settle for three points for the penalty that Peyper went back for.
5. Jean de Villiers is an outstanding captain
De Villiers proved this again in Mendoza when Eben Etzebeth told referee Steve Walsh in the 61st minute that he had been bitten by Argentina No 8 Leonardo Senatore. Walsh told De Villiers that he would 'mark' the incident for the citing commissioner and De Villiers rightly said that the Boks wanted to benefit from a decision made during the game, and not afterwards when the match had already been won and lost. Walsh agreed to go to the TMO only to discover that he had lost communications with his fellow officials and therefore had to get on with the game. Had that not been the case, Senatore may well have been red-carded and the Boks would have played the remaining 19 minutes against 14 men. And all because of some excellent captaincy from De Villiers.
Photo: Au-Yeung/Getty Images
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What we’ve learned
Five lessons from the 15th round of Vodacom Super Rugby, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.