Naholo led masterclass

Waisake Naholo starred in a ruthless ball-in-hand performance from the All Blacks that saw a defensively inept Bok side slip to an embarrassing 57-15 defeat on Saturday, according to’s Opta-powered stats.

Naholo made his return from injury in this match, and didn’t disappoint. His selection ahead of Julian Savea turned out to be a masterstroke from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as the Fijian-born flyer punished the Boks at will.

In fact, it speaks volumes for this New Zealand side that they lost nothing despite the absence of powerful Savea, who has been in superb form throughout the Rugby Championship.

Overall, Naholo made a whopping 131m with ball in hand, while beating three defenders and making three clean breaks in just over an hour of play.

His effort typified that of the world champs. To illustrate the difference between the All Blacks and Boks, take a look at these statistics: In all, the visitors made 758m to 174, 151 carries to 61, beat 33 defenders to two, while executing 11 breaks to two.

Beyond that, they made 190 passes to 79 and 24 offloads to six, while enjoying 69% of possession and 76% of territory.

The All Blacks’ patient and efficient attack was ultimately far too much for the Boks too handle. In the first half, the Boks made 53 tackles, but missed 16. By the end of the match, the Boks had missed a total of 33 tackles (making 118), while the Kiwis slipped just two all night.

Notably, Morné Steyn missed five tackles, while Faf de Klerk slipped off four as the All Blacks clearly looked to target the defensively weak halfback paring. Francois Hougaard was also guilty of missing three tackles.

Besides the Boks’ defensive woes that have continued to haunt them all season, again they dismally failed to win the territory battle, while aimless kicking continued to feed the rampant All Blacks with attacking opportunities.

In the end, the All Blacks scored nine tries to none in a 42-point victory that again proved that the hopeless Boks are no longer any match for a New Zealand side that could soon be regarded as the best in history.

Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis