Jasper Wiese of the Springboks edging forward during The Rugby Championship match against New Zealand at Mbombela Stadium on August 06.
Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images
The Springboks produced a monstrous performance to pile more woe on bitter rivals New Zealand during their absorbing Rugby Championship clash at a sold-out and bouncing Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
Backed by a raucous crowd of more than 40,000 people, the Boks rose to the occasion to beat the All Blacks 26-10 as they started this competition on a positive note.
With this result, Siya Kolisi and his men finally registered SA’s first win over New Zealand on home soil since 2014 when Pat Lambie slotted a 52-metre penalty in the dying minutes at Ellis Park.
This victory is going to increase pressure on visiting coach Ian Forster as the once-mighty All Blacks have now suffered three defeats on the spin following successive defeats to Ireland before they travelled here.
This was a solid team performance where inexperienced players like Kurt-Lee Arendse and Jaden Hendrikse grabbed their opportunities with both hands to prove that they belong at this level.
Arendse got proceedings going in the early stages with the opening try and Hendrikse, who was introduced to the match after an early injury to Faf de Klerk, dished out commendable performances.
The only stain in the otherwise near perfect evening for Arendse was a red card in the closing stages for a dangerous challenge in the air on Beauden Barrett.
There were also notable performances from old horses Siya Kolisi, Malcolm Marx, in his 50th Test match, Makazole Mapimpi, Jasper Wiese, Eben Etzebeth and Handré Pollard who returned with 16 points.
The All Blacks were looking to stop the bleeding but they encountered a Bok side motivated by incredible Mbombela supporters who created an intimidating atmosphere.
With experienced campaigners like Sam Cane, Samuel Whitelock, Beauden and Jordie Barrett, Sevu Reece, Codie Taylor Aaron Smith and Ardie Savea, they could not get a favourable result in the Lowveld.
After powerful renditions of the national anthems, the match started on a sour note with De Klerk being stretchered off the pitch after being injured in a tackle inside the opening minute.
It appeared the injury was not as bad as initially feared as a smiling De Klerk rejoined his teammates on the bench a few minutes later after he received medical attention much to the delight of the fans.
The Boks went ahead in the tenth minute through Kurt-Lee Arendse who outran a few All Black defenders to touch down near the right side corner flag after he received the ball from Lukhyano Am.
Pollard found the middle of the poles with his conversion and he soon increased SA’s lead to ten points with his first penalty as they continued to rattle New Zealand.
In the closing stages of the first half, Jordie Barrett put the All Blacks on the scoresheet with a three-pointer from the kicking tee as they went to the break with the Boks leading 10-3.
The Boks regained their ten point advantage after 50 minutes when Pollard put away his second penalty and later executed a well-taken drop goal as SA continued to dominate the All Blacks.
There was late drama with two tries, first by Shannon Frizell to give New Zealand a glimmer of hope but Willie le Roux put matters beyond doubt on the stroke of the hooter with Pollard converting.
SA (10) 26
New Zealand (03) 10
Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie le Roux
Conversions: Handré Pollard (2)
Penalties: Handré Pollard (3)
Drop Goal: Handré Pollard (1)
Red Card: Kurt-Lee Arendse (74)
Try: Shannon Frizell
Conversion: Jordie Barrett (1)
Penalty: Jordie Barrett (1)
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