New Zealand rugby writer Chris Rattue says the Springboks should be embarrassed by their 32-30 loss to the All Blacks in Pretoria.
The Boks were leading 30-13 with 20 minutes to go at Loftus Versfeld, before the All Blacks scored three late tries to steal victory.
In his column for the New Zealand Herald, Rattue says the game was decided by the Boks throwing away their lead, rather than an All Blacks comeback.
‘Let’s face it. The Springboks produced a monumental choke, a confidence-sapper which negates the advances achieved in Wellington. They absolutely blew it, more than the All Blacks won it.
‘With under 10 minutes left, little halfback Faf de Klerk, surely the Man of the Match, applauded the crowd as he left the field, in what now looks like an act of risky triumphalism. Maybe it just comes across that way in hindsight.
‘De Klerk should probably have stayed on. The accusations of cockiness quite rightly thrown at the All Blacks after the Wellington defeat might now be directed towards South African coach Rassie Erasmus and his players.
‘Here’s an irony. The Springboks could have sealed the game with a pot when Beauden Barrett was ruled to have thrown a long forward pass in front of his posts. They didn’t even attempt it.
‘Then again, we all thought they had it in the bag, didn’t we? There was no way back from there.’
Rattue identified the ‘main chokers’ from the Boks.
‘On taking the 30-13 lead, Eben Etzebeth and Francois Louw made a hash of the easy kick-off reception, getting in each other’s way. They are the chief culprits.
‘Then replacement tighthead prop Vincent Koch copped an admittedly tough penalty at the resulting scrum. Then Cheslin Kolbe made a poor defensive choice as Rieko Ioane cantered over from a long Beauden Barrett pass. Game on.’
Rattue said the All Blacks would never rate ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on home soil as some sort of victory’.
‘[Steve] Hansen would not only get a large “please explain”, he’d be asking a lot of questions himself and of himself, a lot more than he will be anyway.’
Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP