Springboks disappointing result in Rugby World Cup opener

Springboks disappointing result
South Africa's number 8 Duane Vermeulen is tackled by New Zealand's wing George Bridge (bottom) during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between New Zealand and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on September 21, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Springboks disappointing result in their Rugby World Cup opening game against the All Blacks does not mean the end of their title winning aspirations, but might just be the eye-opener they needed.

Scorers:

NEW ZEALAND: 23 – Tries: George Bridge and Scott Barrett; Conversions: Richie Mo’unga 2; Penalties: Mo’unga 2 and Beauden Barrett
SOUTH AFRICA: 13 – Try: Pieter-Steph du Toit; Conversion: Handre Pollard; Penalty: Pollard; Drop-goal: Pollard

Ryan Jordan takes a look at a few points that made the difference in a game that the Springboks had every opportunity to win, but in many instances they contrived to work against themselves.

Inaccurate kicking game

The Springboks kicking out of hand was poor. The box kick tactic that has reaped rich rewards with quality kick chase simply did not work. It was poorly executed and the All Blacks had far too much easy possession to run back at them.

Notable absentees

Aside from Cheslin Kolbe, the Springbok back line simply did not show up at the races. Curiously, they looked underdone for the occasion. Players such as Mapimpi, Le Roux and De Klerk were a long way off their best and this could be regarded as their weakest performance under Rassie Erasmus.

Five minutes of madness

The true difference between the two sides was five minutes. At the beginning of the second quarter, the Springboks experienced somewhat of an implosion in terms of handling and their defense. The All Blacks profited with two tries during the period. Despite an admirable fight back from the Springboks, those two tries was simply too much for them to come back from.

What role did Garces really play?

Social media commentators were in their element after the game. Many claimed that Garces cost the Springboks the game. The reality? Unfortunately for both Garces and World Rugby, he was poor throughout the game and both teams could lay claim to examples of where the officiating could have been better. The ruck was messy and scrum time was a bit of a lottery.

Did the Springboks really show their hand?

This is where the discussion becomes a little more interesting. The Springboks leaked two tries during their five minutes of madness. They resolutely stuck to a limited game play based mostly on the kick chase. Is this all they have to offer?

There is a nagging suspicion that this is not the case. What is Erasmus really planning?

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