The Kiwis only needed a bonus point to make sure of their title, and they would have felt they had made sure of that when skipper Richie McCaw went in for a try on the corner flag with two and a half minutes remaining. Dan Carter missed the angled conversion to leave the teams level pegging, but at that stage it looked like the All Blacks were at least certain of the one point they needed.
Anyone who thought though that the Kiwis would be content to play safely in the final seconds to make sure of the draw was mistaken. Instead of kicking the ball back into Bok territory they did what they had done for most of the match, they probed for an opening — and it came.
Big Ma’a Nonu was the man who surged through the gap, and with Dagg at his side the All Blacks had a two on one situation — and the solitary Bok defender in their way was the diminutive Gio Aplon. It was an easy try, celebrated in spectacular style by an All Black team that showed in this match that in addition to their great skills, they also have massive ticker.
John Smit makes his 100th Test appearance this Saturday when the Boks take on the All Blacks at the FNB Stadium in Soweto and Castle will pay tribute to the Springbok captain by offering every adult at the game a free beer.
Castle Lager, an associate sponsor of the South African rugby team, will ensure that all spectators aged 18 years and older are able to enjoy a free round of beer to toast with John Smit after the game during his post-match interview.
Entering the stadium, spectators 18 years and older will be issued with a voucher that they will be able to redeem from the moment John Smit takes the field.
“Our main objective here is to bring the nation together to celebrate John Smit and his commitment to the game. We also want to encourage everyone who will be watching at home to join in the celebration and be part of this amazing experience as we prove to the world that South Africa is a united nation,” says Alastair Hewitt, General Manger Castle Lager.
Celebrating Smit’s century match follows Castle Lager’s continued support and commitment to bringing the nation together through sport.
The day, already steeped in history, will now also be marked with a record attempt to get the most flags flying in a single stadium in the first test match to be played in Soweto.
An expected 92 000 fans are expected to descend on the stadium, where the recent FIFA World Cup football final was held, to make it one of the biggest rugby crowds in South Africa’s history.
The game was a sell-out within hours and will also mark a unique milestone in Springbok captain John Smit’s career as he runs out to celebrate his 100th Test cap for the World Champions. Ironically his adversary, Richie McCaw will lead out the All Blacks for a record equalling 51st time – putting him on par with All Black legend Sean Fitzpatrick.
In recent international rugby tournaments, the performances and the lack of leadership of the All Blacks have put the New Zealand team under immense pressure ahead of the 2010 Tri-Nations Tournament.
Thus far though, the All Blacks are on top of the tournament log after two wins against the World Champion Springboks. Online gambling fans are having a hard time picking their teams this year considering the All Blacks’ performance so far and the fact that the Springboks are the 2009 Tri-Nations Champions.
The All Blacks are aiming to be the undisputed no. 1 team in the world and this goal seems to be well within reach under head coach Graham Henry. The New Zealanders have taken their level of play to a new level and they have shown great rhythm in the first two Tri-Nations against the Springboks.
Although the All Blacks are no.1 team on the IRB World Rankings, one cannot help wonder if the All Blacks have indeed stepped up their level of play or rather if the Springboks have performed poorly.
Two wins on home soil over the Sprinboks might not be everything, but it certainly is a step up to last year’s Tri Nations, when they lost all three games against the South Africans.
In the meantime, South Africa is ranked second in the IRB rankings and desperately trying to improve their discipline in order to maintain this position.
The yellow cards received by the Springbok players in games against the All Blacks could be the main reasons for their defeats. This is why Victor Matfield said that the player who receives a yellow card in the game against Australia should be penalized, which could certainly be seen as a sign of desperation.
However, I think it’s too early to create so much expectation. Let’s wait to see how the things go for these two teams during the rest of this tournament, and if South Africa can fight for its 4th title in this competition.
Richie McCaw admitted on Wednesday that he didn’t always act within the laws of the game against the Springboks in the first two Tri-Nations games, but said that it’s all part of rugby.
The All Black captain was penalised five times against the Springboks in Wellington according to website ruggastats.com. This infuriated coach Peter de Villiers and a number of his senior players.
Irishman Alain Rolland was the referee who failed to punish McCaw with a yellow card for his transgressions at the breakdown and will again be the referee when the Boks play the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld on August 28.
“I made a few mistakes. I think the important thing is to know what you will get away with. But I undoubtedly made mistakes,” said McCaw.
Cape Talk has reported that the towering lock is set to undergo surgery to repair a damaged disc in his back, after picking up the injury during the Boks’ broadly ill-fated away leg of the Vodacom Tri-Nations in New Zealand.
He had an MRI scan in Brisbane which ruled him out of consideration for the squad to play the Wallabies there.
The radio station quoted Matthew Proudfoot, the WP forwards coach, as saying: “Andries is back from overseas; we caught up with him today (Monday). It looks like he is going in for surgery next week on his back.”
WP spokesperson Gavin Lewis could not confirm to Sport24 that Bekker was out of the rugby for the remainder of 2010, but said he would seek clarity from the medical staff.
Graham Henry has spoken out on the refereeing controversy that Peter de Villiers has embroiled himself into.
De Villiers made the outlandish claim last week that the All Blacks’ recent supremacy over the Springboks was part of a conspiracy aimed at generating support for next year’s World Cup.
Henryon Saturday flew to Brisbane and watched the Wallabies open their Tri-Nations campaign against South Africa. But before he departed on his spying mission, he expertly distanced himself from the fuss.
”I can’t really take anything [de Villiers] says seriously,” Henry said. ”The penalty count in the two matches was in favour of South Africa. I appreciate they had a couple of yellow cards; one was very warranted and the other questionable. But I don’t want to get into it too deeply for the reason I just outlined.”