Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

All Blacks: ABs finish off what Aussies started

Dan Carter of the All Blacks looks for support during the Tri-Nations match last week. Photo / Getty Images
Dan Carter of the All Blacks looks for support during the Tri-Nations match last week. Photo / Getty Images

Whatever the Wallabies did to the Boks, the All Blacks applied more torture at the Cake Tin.

They squeezed the second-rate, second-string Boks on Saturday night, put them in the chokehold in the first half and applied the deaththrust strangle after the break.

They played with greater speed, more power and accuracy and greater fluency than the Springboks. It was an improved performance from Carisbrook, a step up - but the Boks were not much of a team.

They had individuals like Patrick Lambie and Jean Deysel, who showed they might return to these shores for the World Cup but their prowess was devalued by the dysfunctional team unity.

The All Blacks were together for much of their six-tries-to-one, 40-7 victory.

Their accuracy and numbers to the collision zones was too potent for the Boks. From there Jimmy Cowan and Daniel Carter controlled the direction and dissection of the tourists.

Cory Jane made the most of his guest appearance, showing the dancing feet, awareness and guile which have made him such an asset in the past on the wing.

Where Sitiveni Sivivatu was sharp in his in-from-the-cold test the week before, Jane made a similar contribution and so did Zac Guildford. The pair bagged two tries each, they looked for work all night, tracked back in defence and showed an unselfish attitude throughout. Captain Richie McCaw took out the man-of-the-match award and was far sharper than against Fiji. He was penalised three times early at the breakdown and a few other glitches suggested Adam Thomson or Carter were higher up the ratings order.

"My goal was making it tough for others, showing that the All Black jersey is not a given," Thomson said. "The more we [back-ups] perform, the stronger the team is going to be."

His roles were to lead the defence from No 8 and then on attack to be first to cleanout the breakdown.

If Thomson continued to make advances, Liam Messam was not so convincing in his last-quarter run. His mixed work leaves him vulnerable to other loose-forward challengers.

Replacement prop John Afoa only lasted six minutes before breaking his right cheekbone which puts his next appearance in limbo. Otherwise the All Blacks had minor worries with only Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams affected by leg strains.

Carter goaled just three from eight kicks, but his general play was nearing some of his best. He felt he struck the ball well, but allowed too much for the breeze.

Some of the set-piece moves and counter-attack had been "fantastic", said Carter, and the intensity had been far better than the test with Fiji.

"But we need to be a lot more clinical against the Wallabies."

The victory margin was neither a help nor a hindrance coming into the Bledisloe Cup, he said. "We have to be realistic, that is what it is and we won't get ahead of ourselves."

Jane had the smile back on his dial after snapping two tries including a surge from halfway before he mocked Morne Steyn's defence at fullback. His delight after such a horrid season had him punching his chest with delight in a move he explained as "King Kong or something".

Guildford got his first test tries and admitted he had been getting a bit panicky waiting to cross the test stripe. It helped that South Africa kicked a lot and gave the All Blacks possession they could use, Guildford said, adding that he was not worrying about selection this week.

- NZ Herald

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 25 Oct 2014 16:02:30 Processing Time: 511ms