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Springboks Dominate All Blacks in Record-Breaking Win

By Alex De Jongh

On Friday 25 August 2023, The Springboks thumped the All Blacks in a record-breaking victory over the Kiwis. The game ended 35 – 7 in favour of South Africa at the Twickenham Stadium in London. The match was played a few days before the start of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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A high-scoring match that did not see the scoreboard tick over until Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi, broke the All Black's defence. In the first 18 minutes, we saw back-from-injury captain Kolisi score under the poles after an impressive start from the Springboks.

The impressive start would carry on and the Springboks would dominate the game.

The most dominant aspect of their game was their set pieces. Scrums and Lineouts are where the Boks shine and they leaned heavily into this throughout the game.

New Zealand struggled to contest the South African Lineout. Every lineout seemed to go South Africa’s way because New Zealand contested too early or did not contest enough.

Errors were mounting on the All Blacks side. This led to number 4, Scott Barrett, seeing yellow not once but twice resulting in a red card. His captain, Sam Cane, also saw yellow for repeated infringements. There were yellow cards on both sides as South Africa's Pieter-Steph Du Toit was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes due to a high tackle.

Luckily, there were more tries than cards in the game. The All Blacks did score 5 points as newcomer Cameron Roigard scored his first try. But it was the Springbok's impressive form that led to them scoring five tries on the night. Manie Libbok converted all five tries for his team.

With this flurry of tries, Malcolm Marx becomes the highest-scoring Springbok forward. He has 17 tries to his name. Not far behind is his teammate Bongi Mbonambi, whose tally of 13 tries gives Malcolm Marx some competition in his position.

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Much was said about South Africa’s new tactic of having seven forwards replacements on the bench, while only having one to cover the backline. The Springboks seem to be an outlier because they favour six forwards on the bench and just two backs.

Teams usually resort to having five forwards on the bench and three backline players. This is to have enough cover for all the positions on the field. However, a seven–to–one split on the bench is highly irregular.

It can be attributed to Willie Le Roux’s injury during the week which saw his spot on the bench being given to the forward, Kwagga Smith.

During a press conference, Siya Kolisi promised that his team would give their all on the pitch. We can safely say that he and his team delivered on that promise.

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This game was deemed a warm-up game because whenever the All Blacks and the Springboks go head-to-head it is never “friendly”.

With the World Cup a few days out, have the Springboks left it too late to try new things with their bench? Must the All Blacks go back to the drawing board before their next match?

This will all be decided at the kick-off of the inaugural event of the Rugby World Cup. Which saw New Zealand face the host nation, France, on Friday 8 September 2023.

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