A game that was too close to call, and which in the end, was a stalemate. With the Test Match rewards shared in The Rugby Championship Round Two draw, both New Zealand and South Africa will find ‘good and bad news’ in the outcome.
Video highlights only show some of the points scoring moments of this tight contest. Yet the Test Match was decided in the moments missed too easily by the cameras. The contact points, the lines used on defence, and in the close-quarter match ups. If anything, viewing the full match can reveal more although, is still frustrating, due to the drawn scoreline; 16-16.
After the siren sounded, New Zealand player’s look downtrodden. On the other hand, South African player’s were more jubilant. Not over the top, but the sense that a draw against the World Champions, is as good a reward as winning. Shared championship points also meaning that the Springboks head into the rest week, a single point ahead of the All Blacks – and with a trophy within grasp.
Next up, each side will play the last game in the shortened 2019 Rugby Championship. Three rounds only, so at the start of the campaign, each team targeted matches for different reasons. Now, after a drawn outcome, the final match now takes on more importance. Winner takes all; especially important for South Africa, to hold the bragging rights when the two sides meet again on September 21, in Japan.
Test Match rewards shared in Round Two draw
2019 has been a season full of draws. The Super Rugby season was spattered with them. The Sharks played a fantastic game in Christchurch, almost walking away with a well-planned victory over the Crusaders. The Bulls too, held firm against the Blues and were happier when they left with a share of the points. But in a Test Match, a draw can leave some with a bitter taste.
Taking the good with the bad, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen pointed out some of the positives in the post-match press conference. He remarked, “(Our) Defence is going well. They squeaked a try there at the end and they had to work hard to get it and good on them for getting it because we didn’t give them a soft one.
“When they score like that you’ve just got to take your hat off to them and say well done.” His assistant coaches will be analyzing all facets of the result. On the set-piece, Hansen said, “Set piece was good, a couple of the scrums at the end not so good but you’ve got to concentrate for 80 minutes at set-piece time so a couple of lessons there.
“It’s like everything at the moment, we’re working away quietly and getting where we need to but we’re not obviously the finished product, and we don’t expect to be,” Hansen said.
The experiment of ‘twin pivots’ was not entirely a success, with the interaction of Beauden Barrett not as polished as what fans might have hoped for. But the biggest negative to come out from the drawn result, is a dislocated shoulder to key forward, Brodie Retallick. His recovery now; leading up to the Rugby World Cup, will be a memory of this Test Match that will be tough to swallow.
Springboks emboldened by Test Match draw
Opposing the All Blacks for the 98th time, to leave Wellington with a draw will embolden the Springboks. They would prefer a win, but to equal their greatest rivals made Rassie Erasmus satisfied. He told reporters, “To come away with a draw, I guess we’re satisfied with that. The first 35 minutes we played very well and the second half they totally dominated.
“So fairly lucky, in a big way”.
While you make your own luck in every Test Match, preparations by sending a small party over to New Zealand early, was a factor. Leaders like Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, and Handre Pollard, each make a difference. And new Sprinboks halfback Hershel Jantjies leaves with a third try in two games. One that gave them shared rewards in this game, but proves that the New Zealand side’s defence can be broken.
“We really struggled to catch onto the pace of the game until the last minute. Lucky to escape, but the first 40 minutes we played really good tactical rugby. I was frustrated in a sense that we dominated a lot of things, except lineouts”. So both teams leave with positives and negatives to work on.
The Rugby Championship Round Two draw, both good and bad for both New Zealand and South Africa was another chapter in a long story. Each side will encounter the other again at the Rugby World Cup.
What learnings and what benefits they each take from the drawn Test Match, will be used in the ‘bye week’ before they face the third round of the Championship.
New Zealand 16 – Try: Jack Goodhue; Conversion: Beauden Barrett; Penalties: Richie Mo’unga (2)
South Africa 16 – Try: Herschel Jantjies; Con: Handre Pollard; Penalties: Pollard (3)
Round Three fixtures for The Rugby Championship; Australia v New Zealand (Optus Stadium, Perth), and Argentina v South Africa (Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta).