The Rugby Championship
Ma’a Nonu didn’t win the respect and admiration of his South African opposite Jean de Villiers with a big tackle or a crunching run.
The All Blacks second five-eighth saved his classiest moment for the quiet of the changing room where doctors surveyed his broken forearm at halftime during Saturday’s Rugby Championship match at Westpac Stadium.
Nonu’s test, and season, were over, a steel plate inserted in his arm yesterday morning, but as the ambulance doors swung open to take the 32-year-old across town to Wellington Hospital, Nonu thought not of his misfortune and considerable pain.
Instead, he pulled off his No 12 jersey and instructed his handlers to take it to the opposition changing room where it could be collected by de Villiers after he completed his 100th test for the Springboks.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was left visibly frustrated and annoyed his side had failed to end the All Blacks’ five-year winning streak in New Zealand.
Deep down, however, he knew the mistakes that had been made could be rectified and the youngsters in his team would only be better for their tight 14-10 defeat to the world champions in Wellington on Saturday.
RWC winning back JP Pietersen will replace injured scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar for home Rugby Championship Tests against Australia and New Zealand, it was announced on Sunday.
Pietersen, who can operate on the right wing or at outside centre, has been playing in Japan and was unavailable for the first four southern hemisphere championship matches.
“JP has always been part of our plans and did very well in June playing at outside centre,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said in a statement.
The All Blacks say South Africa have returned to their time-wasting antics, at the same ground where they first accused them of feigning injuries eight years ago.
Senior New Zealand players voiced their concern at the number of Springboks who sought medical treatment during the All Blacks 14-10 win in Wellington on Saturday.
Captain Richie McCaw and No 8 Kieran Read regularly remonstrated with French referee Jerome Garces, believing the tourists were deliberately slowing the speed of the Test to nullify New Zealand’s high-speed approach.
The Springboks put a positive spin on their narrow defeat to the All Blacks in a bruising encounter on Saturday, saying they learnt valuable lessons a year out from the World Cup.
The 14-10 defeat in Wellington all but ended the Springboks bid to prevent the All Blacks claiming the Rugby Championship trophy for a third successive year.
It also came at a price, with scrum-half Ruan Pienaar out for up to eight weeks with knee ligament damage and a question mark over flanker Francois Louw, who suffered an arm injury.
But in the plus column, coach Heyneke Meyer saw a valuable return from his gamble to play 20-year-old Handre Pollard and 21-year-old Jan Serfontein against the top side in the world.
All Blacks center Ma’a Nonu will not play rugby again in 2014 after undergoing surgery on a broken arm sustained against South Africa on Saturday.
Nonu suffered the injury in the first half of the 14-10 win over the Springboks in Wellington and was replaced at halftime but only after having played for nine minutes after suffering the injury when tackling opposite number Jean de Villiers.
The injury means Nonu will miss New Zealand’s remaining Rugby Championship matches against Argentina in La Plata in a fortnight and South Africa in Johannesburg on October 5. He has also been ruled out of New Zealand’s November tour to the United States and Britain.
Thinus Delport acknowledged that New Zealand’s superior experience and mental strength was the difference as they earned a late victory.
He said: “It’s that winning mentality – not panicking, staying calm, making the right decisions.
That’s what it boils down to. One simple error at this level and the game changes.
Brutal as this confrontation was, it was the subtle and cerebral touch of the All Blacks’ collective boots which separated them from South Africa.
This was test rugby in its most pure form. A brutal contest of physicality from the moment Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen levelled All Black captain Richie McCaw in the opening minutes.
It was a shame there had to be winner, but such is sport.
Springbok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship after suffering a knee ligament injury in the 14-10 defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington.
Pienaar was carried from the field in the 36th minute after a swinging leg from team-mate Duane Vermeulen connected with his leg.
Team doctor Craig Roberts confirmed the 80-Test veteran is likely to face several months on the sidelines.
So amper, maar alle aanduidings is dat die Springbokrugbyspan weer op die regte pad is ná sy naelskraapse nederlaag gister teen die All Blacks.
Dit is die eenparige mening van ’n klompie kenners by wie Rapport gaan kers opsteek het ná die Slag van Wellington.
“As ons die All Blacks só kan vat in Wellington, kan ons hulle op neutrale velde in die Wêreldbeker-toernooi klop,” meen die voormalige Bok-slot Krynauw Otto. “Dit was weer simpel foute wat ons, nes in Australië, die wedstryd gekos het. Tien foute minder en ons het gewen.”
The Wallabies may have denied Argentina on the Gold Coast, but they could travel to South Africa without the man who helped make the 32-25 victory possible.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, whose assured set piece work helped deny the Pumas their customary scrum dominance in the first half at Cbus Stadium, has injured his left ankle and is in “serious doubt” for the Wallabies’ final two Tests of the Rugby Championship.
This was an absolutely wonderful Test match.
It was what all rugby players and supporters want to see or be involved in.
The referee was outstanding in the game, absolutely clear, no controversial incidents and no yellow cards.
The Springboks played by far their best match this year. A lot of it had to do with the positive mindset that came into the team from the selection of Pollard.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer knew he had rolled the dice in selecting rookie flyhalf Handre Pollard to play against the All Blacks, but was pleased the 20-year-old had proved he was worth the gamble.
Pollard hardly put a foot wrong in his fourth test, and first against the world champions, driving the Springboks around Wellington Regional Stadium, producing a superb inside pass to set up their only try and providing a solid kicking game.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen lauded his team’s character but not their execution after beating the Springboks 14-10 to take a firm grip on a third successive Rugby Championship title.
New Zealand dominated possession and territory but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard, eventually clinging on to beat their historic rivals for a fifth successive Test.
Outstanding South African defence nearly earned them a win but an assault on the home side’s line over the last seven minutes was unsuccessful.
Wallabies (14) 32 / 25 (7) Los Pumas (Final Score)
The Australian Wallabies and Argentinian Pumas did battle in Round 4 of The Rugby Championship at
Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast at 12:00 SA Time (20:00 AEST, 07:00 ARG Time, 10:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.
All Blacks (6) 14 / 10 (7) Springboks (Final Score)
The New Zealand All Blacks and South African Springboks did battle in Round 4 of The Rugby Championship at
Westpac Stadium, Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
I must admit I was (and still am) furious about the Springbok loss in the last minute of the match last week against the Wallabies from Australia. Specially with the constant box kick tactics.
I hate losing but can accept it if the team plays proper rugby. I get furious when the team plays below potential because they are too scared or too careful. I thought that the Springboks played below what they are capable of, last week.
I am not a fan of kicking your possession away.
I played for the university Under 20 team in the 1980′s mosly as flyhalf and inside centre, in a time when Naas Botha was the ‘role model’ of flyhalf play in South Africa. I worked hard at my kicking game because Naas sort of set the template for flyhalf play in those days, but rarely kicked in matches because I just disliked the idea of kicking hard earned possion away. Nevertheless, I scored or created tries on occasion by utilzing the high kick and charge.
Brodie Retallick is forging a reputation as one of the best locks in world rugby. Toby Robson got to know the 2.04-metre 23-year-old with his head in the clouds but his feet firmly on the ground.
Brodie Retallick has been working things out from the start.
As a youngster he and his two brothers, Logan and Brook, would crowd around their father Glen as he worked on their motorbikes.
Long days spent riding around the family’s 5-acre block in Broomfield or towing each other on sleds took their toll on the machinery.
It wasn’t long before the Retallick boys were fixing things themselves. Mum Jo’s boys were the hands-on types, out playing rugby in the yard rather than parked in front of the television.
Round 3 of the Rugby Championship ended in heartbreak for the Springboks when they went down to Australia by 1 point in the final few minutes of what was not an entertaining match at all.
The referee, the yellow card to Bryan Habana, the failed touchfinder by Morné Steyn and various other reasons have already been dissected and discussed, so we won’t dwell on those.
SANZAR are looking to bring in a challenge system in order to combat refereeing errors, with each team allowed three per game.
Following in the footsteps of cricket and tennis, teams would be able to challenge a referee’s decision, while the TMO would be used only for these challenges, leaving the on-field referee to make the rest of the calls.
There are currently concerns that referees are hiding behind their TMOs at the moment, rather than making their own decisions, and the official in charge would now be responsible for deciding on tries and incidents of foul play.
The news comes after a weekend where both Rugby Championship games featured controversial refereeing decisions, with Argentina denied a perfectly good try when Pascal Gauzère called a knock-on on a charge-down from Leonardo Senatore.
Forget what you think about this test match.
There is so much more riding on tomorrow night’s capital contest than a handful of competition points.
This is a battle between total rugby and totalitarian rugby, a stylistic skirmish between one team that enjoys the sweet freedom of expression and another which squirms in the grip of moderation’s gorilla mitt.
The All Blacks have a higher winning percentage in the professional age against the Springboks than they do the Wallabies and yet it is the Boks who are viewed as the ultimate foe.
Questions have been asked in the past few years about whether Australia are still a worthy adversary. A once intense rivalry has lost its edge.
Victor Matfield can remember the time when he turned the All Blacks lineout into a jellyfish.
The veteran Springboks lock believes those days are over, but says South Africa can beat the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.
“There was a time when their lineout didn’t fire, and now I think it is almost the best [in the world] to go up against,” the 37-year-old said today.
“I think they probably analyse it more, see it as a facet of its own and put a lot of time into it.
“They contest very well and I think they spend a lot more time at the lineout than they did in those early years.”
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen doesn’t mind having a public pop at the Wallabies, but when it comes to one of world rugby’s enduring rivalries, and South African coach Heyneke Meyer, there is nothing but mutual respect.
“I myself have a huge amount of respect for their coach [Heyneke Meyer]. I think he’s a good man and a good coach,” Hansen said today, ahead of Saturday night’s test against South Africa in Wellington.
“Their captain Jean [de Villiers], having his 100th game [on Saturday] I’d like to congratulate him on that.”
Four months after being berated by coach Steve Hansen for his lack of fitness, the big Auckland loose forward will start a test against South Africa.
Luatua replaces the injured Liam Messam at blindside for Saturday’s Rugby Championship match at Westpac Stadium in one of three changes to the team that started against Argentina in Napier.
A fit-again Aaron Cruden returns as expected in place of Beauden Barrett at first five-eighth, while lock Jeremy Thrush comes in for Sam Whitelock, who is out with a rib injury.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will on Saturday join four other South Africans when he leads the team out in his 100th Test, against New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington (kick-off 09:35 SA Time).
The Springbok match-23 to face New Zealand shows only one change from last weekend, with Handré Pollard starting at flyhalf.
The 33-year-old De Villiers will become the 34th Test player to reach this milestone. With him on the field will be two of the four South African centurions – the most-capped Springbok of all time, Victor Matfield (114 caps) and Bryan Habana, who reached this special milestone last weekend against Australia in Perth.
Steven Luatua will start his first test of the year on Saturday against the Springboks in Wellington and the origins of his promotion can be found in not only Liam Messam’s injury, but also a searingly painful personal training session in Christchurch in June.
That was after Luatua had been told by the All Blacks’ coaches that he wasn’t fit enough, wasn’t offering enough for the Blues in the Super Rugby competition, and wouldn’t hold his place in the match-day 23 for the upcoming tests against England.
The All Blacks will face the Springboks for the 88th time in history and the first time this year in Wellington on Saturday. Here are six of the more notable clashes between the two fierce rivals since the year 2000.
Heyneke Meyer, as every Springbok coach has before him, will have his year’s work measured by how his side goes against the All Blacks.
That is just the way it is in South Africa and Meyer would have known that before he accepted the job. But if anyone thinks it’s a fair contest, and that he is pitting himself against his All Black adversary Steve Hansen on equal terms, they need to think again.
The expectations of South Africans do not match the rugby realities of the two countries. New Zealand’s centralised system, with Super Rugby coaches and players contracted to the NZRFU and everything geared towards making the All Blacks excellent, gives Hansen a leg up that Meyer doesn’t have.
Having suffered defeat to the Wallabies this past Saturday, even the most die-hard Springbok supporters must be wondering if their team can win in New Zealand for the first time in five years.
Since taking the reins in 2012, Steve Hansen has forged a well-organised unit that plays with pride and purpose.
However, what makes the All Blacks most difficult to beat is their ball-in-hand threat.
To offer an example, in the final play of the first stanza against Argentina in Napier, the home side won a tighthead. Subsequently Beauden Barrett took the ball to the line, used his quick feet and evasiveness to pierce the defence and fed the lightening-quick Liam Messam, who scored the try.
Argentina have dumped both their starting wingers as they aim for a maiden Rugby Championship victory on Saturday night against the Wallabies on the Gold Coast.
The Pumas have made three changes to the run-on side which fell 28-9 to the All Blacks last weekend, with suspended lock Tomas Lavanini replaced by the youthful Matias Alemanno in the only alteration to their powerful forward pack.
Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test between New Zealand and South Africa in Wellington could be a significant one in the career of Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard.
The 20-year-old was on Wednesday included in the Bok starting team at the expense of the experienced Morné Steyn, who seemed to pay the price for his late kicking blunder against Australia in Perth last weekend.
The Rugby Championship is, many would argue, the pre-eminent event of its type outside the World Cup.
It may lack the history, and maybe even some of the ingrained tribalism of the Six Nations, but more often than not since 1996 it has featured the top three ranked teams in the world, and many of the best players on the planet.
It has produced some of the most thrilling, spectacular matches ever played, in front of some of the biggest crowds ever to watch the sport.
It is an elite showcase of the game, and it deserves better than what we saw at the weekend.
South Africa have handed the controls to 20-year-old first five-eighth Handré Pollard as they look for an attacking spark to end their three-year drought against the All Blacks.
Pollard is the only change to the Springbok side that lost narrowly to Australia in Perth last week, but signals a major shift from coach Heyneke Meyer as he looks forward toward next year’s World Cup.
Significantly, Pollard, in what will be just his fourth test, pushes the more traditional South African veteran Morné Steyn out of the squad for what is South Africa’s biggest test of The Rugby Championship so far this year.
Jean de Villiers sees the Springboks advancing years as an advantage ahead of his 100th test.
The evergreen midfielder will become just the fifth player to bring up 100 test caps for South Africa during Saturday’s Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks in Wellington.
Two of those players, John Smit and Percy Montgomery, have retired, but Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield will run out alongside de Villiers when he achieves his milestone at Westpac Stadium.