3N: ABs down Bok B
The All Blacks made life difficult for themselves Saturday before scorching a tired and bedraggled Springboks for three late tries to run out 33-6 victors and set up a championship final with the Wallabies next weekend.
Despite predicting a 22-point AB victory, Rugby Planet called New Zealand's 27-point win a "struggle."
The All Blacks forward coach thought otherwise:
Assistant coach Steve Hansen says the All Blacks' 33-6 win over South Africa in Christchurch on Saturday night compares favourably with their razzle-dazzle record defeat of France in Lyon seven months ago.(Is Hansen's comment a bluff...?)
In an eye-raising comment if ever there was one, Hansen said an inability to catch the ball at key times was the only difference between the error-ridden display at Jade Stadium and the remarkable 47-3 romp at Stade de Gerland on last November's European tour.
Meanwhile, Hansen revealed that the All Blacks were largely bluffing with their play through the first seven tests. There would be numerous changes to the game plan before the World Cup, he said.
"If we're still playing the same style of game we're playing now and doing the same moves, then we're going to be vulnerable because everyone will analyse it.
"We have to go to the World Cup and do something different. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work that out."
Inky examines the butter-fingers:
The All Blacks took a long time to get going against the Springboks at Jade Stadium on Saturday night, but when passes finally started sticking they finished with three tries in a late stampede.The All Blacks vs. Wallabies Tri-Nations decider goes next Saturday at Eden Park, Auckland.
Graham Henry said something interesting afterwards when it was suggested that he might not be thrilled with the way the All Blacks had played, winning margin notwithstanding. "The systems were good," he emphasised, unwilling to accept that the 33-6 scoreline was worse than they should have posted.
It implied that their fast and loose style, their willingness to commit more handling errors by being more adventurous, was a policy they'll continue with. The pace the All Blacks play at will bring about more dropped balls and unsympathetic passes as a matter of course, but so long as they're playing with the majority of possession and therefore playing more of the rugby they will win way more often than not.
New Zealand vs. Australia
Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 03:35 AM ET
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Mediazone Rugby Channel broadcast