“They put us under pressure and caught us on our heels a bit. That meant the momentum was against us, the core roles at the set-piece weren’t always there and the pressure led to us coughing up the ball, simple passes went down. So that made it a hard old day, giving back easy ball to let guys like Duane Vermeulen run at us,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said after the 25-27 defeat.
“Firstly, my heart tells me the Springboks probably deserved to shade it,” coach Steve Hansen admitted. “We didn’t start well enough, they put us under a lot of pressure, and we just gave them too much of a head start.
“In the first half, the ball we got from the set-pieces was of no great quality so we weren’t able to build any pressure of our own at all, which is a key element of rugby. In the second half, we maintained the ball better and it came down to a 55m penalty under pressure, but the right team won and congratulations to them.”
Although the Springboks produced a phenomenal first half of dazzling attacking rugby to seize control of the Test, you can always count on the All Blacks finishing strongly and they turned the tables on the home side before Pat Lambie’s 55m penalty in the 79th minute finally sealed a nailbiting win.
“This team hates losing, it sucks, but I’m still bloody proud that we nearly snuck it at the end. They never gave up, you could see that by the way they attacked with 90 seconds to go, and at the last ruck the penalty could have gone either way then we’d be sitting here happy chappy,” Hansen said.
McCaw said the Test would go down as another classic in the annals of the great Springboks/All Blacks rivalry.
“There’s very little between these two sides as everybody could see today. As a youngster, dreaming of playing for the All Blacks, at Ellis Park against the Springboks would be it every time. It’s hard and tough and you have to be spot on to get the result.
“It’s a great place to play, I love it here, the atmosphere is brilliant and you generally get a dry ball. We just have to be a bit better,” McCaw said.