The All Blacks thrilled rugby fans and pundits around the world with their 23-13 win over South Africa in Tokyo last night. But not everyone was impressed with the spectacle. Here's how the world media reacted to the All Blacks' win.
Garces clueless at scrum-time - by James Richardson of TheSouthAfrican.com
"The Springboks lost their early momentum in the match against the All Blacks due, in part, to Frenchman Jerome Garces' stunning ignorance of the dark arts of the scrum.
"For the first three scrums, Joe Moody's elbow went straight into the turf, but Garces completely missed it. Later in the match, he would award the All Blacks a penalty despite Ofa Tuungafasi over-extending into a virtual belly flop to bring a scrum down in their half.
"Garces made at least one borderline call in favour of the Springboks, but that call was arguably incorrect and Makazole Mapimpi should probably have gone to the bin for conceding the penalty that allowed the All Blacks to level the scores. "
"The notion that these decisions balance each other out at the end of the day is an unverifiable cliche, what sports fans all want is for results to be fair and for officials to have as little impact on the outcome as possible."
New Zealand send warning to rivals with classy Rugby World Cup victory over South Africa - by Ali Stokes of The Telegraph
"New Zealand fired an ominous warning of their grim focus to secure a record third-straight World Cup crown by grinding past South Africa 23-13 in Yokohama.
"The back-to-back world champion All Blacks fended off everything a turbocharged Cheslin Kolbe and the Springboks could throw at them, powering to an opening victory at times prosaic in style - but every inch foreboding for their foes."
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New Zealand stand firm against South Africa in heavyweight thriller - by Robert Kitson of The Guardian
"After the final gong had sounded on this rousing contest, New Zealand's players still had the presence of mind to walk slowly around the emptying stadium, respectfully bowing to everyone present. It should have been the other way around; those lucky enough to witness this gripping game owed all the ferociously committed players involved a collective vote of thanks.
"Respect is certainly due to the All Blacks for the first-half attacking excellence that, crucially, delivered 14 points inside four minutes just before the half-hour after South Africa had given the defending champions a serious early pounding. Those two converted scores for George Bridge and Scott Barrett were not the only reasons the defending champions ultimately prevailed – a stunning cover tackle by Richie Mo'unga on the brilliant Cheslin Kolbe was also crucial – but they undoubtedly tipped the scales."
Springboks' 'wakeup call' - by Netwerk24
Netwerk24 hailed the All Blacks' tactical genius, saying they had given the Springboks a "wakeup call".
According to the leading Afrikaans site, the All Blacks quickly managed to decipher the South Africans' strategy, resulting in the Boks' rush defence backfiring badly.
"The All Blacks managed to masterfully unlock the Springboks – and reinforced that they will be the team to beat at this year's tournament," the site said.
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All Blacks survive South Africa onslaught to lay down World Cup marker in ding-dong clash of contrasting styles - by Charlie Morgan of The Telegraph
"If these two sides return to decide Rugby World Cup 2019 at the same venue in six weeks' time, few neutrals will be disappointed.
"This was a see-sawing, ding-dong clash of contrasting styles. Ultimately, though, New Zealand prevailed thanks to a four-minute, 17-point blitz in the first half punctuated by typically opportunistic team tries finished by George Bridge and Scott Barrett.
"Although spirited, South Africa were eventually undone. Their indiscipline was a significant factor, owing in part to the breakdown work of outstanding Ardie Savea, while twin playmakers Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga also shone."
Springboks punished by All Blacks in World Cup opener - by Herman Mostert of Sport24
"The All Blacks showed renewed vigour and troubled the Boks with their expansive game, scoring two quickfire tries via winger George Bridge and lock Scott Barrett.
"Suddenly, the scoreline read 17-3 in New Zealand's favour and it looked a long way back for South Africa.
"The Boks were heavily penalised by French referee Jerome Garces - the penalty count was 9-4 in favour of the All Blacks - and will no doubt be questioning a few of his calls, especially at the breakdown and scrum time."
Ardie Savea is the game's best flanker - by Christy Doran of Fox Sports Australia
"If there's a better flanker in the world than Ardie Savea at the moment, I want to know who it is.
Pieter-Steph du Tou, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Pablo Matera, Hamish Watson and Justin Tipuric are all proven performers and some of the best running around.
But Savea shades them all at present.
Savea was a beast for the All Blacks all night.
Only Beauden Barrett (90) and Sevu Reece (96) ran for more metres than Savea (70)."
All Blacks find answers to pressing questions in victory over South Africa - by Jamie Pandaram of The Sunday Telegraph (Australia)
"They've figured it out.
"The one tactic teams hoped would stifle the All Blacks' World Cup chances — the rush defence — has been outmanoeuvred by a clever New Zealand side that showed exactly why they are favourites to win an unprecedented third straight title.
"The game plan used successfully in recent years by the Springboks, Ireland, and England in their one-point loss last year, the rush defence was trumped by Kiwi attacking ingenuity in Yokohama."
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