South Africa 35-7 New Zealand: World Cup holders hand the All Blacks a record beating at Twickenham ahead of title defence in France
- South Africa ran in five tries to earn a record win against the All Blacks
- New Zeland’s Scott Barrett was shown a first-half red card for a shoulder charge
- The World Cup holders begin their title defence vs Scotland on September 10
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
South Africa parked their tanks on England’s lawn on Friday night, showed what top Test rugby looks like and proved they are ready to retain the World Cup, with a record rout of the All Blacks.
This heavyweight clash between two southern superpowers brought sporting gravitas to an arena which has staged far too many turgid, low-grade international fixtures of late.
It was compelling and punishing, not least for Scott Barrett, the All Black flanker, who was sent off for a wild, off-the-ball shoulder charge on Malcolm Marx a minute before half-time. It was a dangerous, ugly offence which surely warrants a long ban.
But much of what was produced by the victors in front of a capacity crowd was far from ugly. South Africa showed that they can defend the title they won in 2019, with a demonstration of force and flair.
It would be premature to write off New Zealand, but never in their proud history have they been beaten so badly by anyone and it will savagely dent their belief ahead of a tournament opener against hosts France in Paris.
South Africa recorded a comfortable victory against New Zealand at Twickenham on Friday
The World Cup holders ran in five tries in preparation for the start of their title defence
Captain Siya Kolisi will be hoping to lift more silverware at the World Cup in France
In theory, these great rivals could meet again in the World Cup quarter-finals. If so, the Springboks are bound to take heart from striking a massive psychological blow here. And their rookie centre, Canan Moodie, gave a glimpse of the remarkable talent which could make him a global sensation.
On Saturday, on the same patch of grass in south west London, England must somehow try to live up to the standards set last night. They will struggle to do so – and their game against Fiji will have an after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-show feel to it.
There was a real sense of occasion and anticipation for this mighty match. South Africans took over off the field and were soon doing so on it. Within the first five minutes there had been more thrills and spills than England often deliver in a full 80, as the world champions pounded forward seeking an opening try.
For those here more used to box-kicks and tedium, it was like rugby from another, exotic planet. That’s not to say it was error-free – far from it – but there was energy and intent, tribal ferocity and defensive defiance. There was no score until the 18th minute, but it was utterly absorbing.
Ill-discipline proved costly for the All Blacks throughout the record defeat in London
New Zealand will be hoping to bounce back quickly ahead of their World Cup campaign
The Boks continued to dominate and with two yellow cards hampering the All Blacks’ rear-guard action, Siya Kolisi powered through their defence to score. Moments later, Faf de Klerk – previously decried as a kicking scrum-half – burst away from a scrum to launch a counter-attack from his own 22. It was another demonstration of pace and a daring streak. No is saying ‘boring boring Boks’ now.
Soon after that, a rare Kiwi raid featured glorious handling by backs and forwards alike, before Canan Moodie intercepted a pass and released Damian Willemse in one stunning movement which drew gasps in the stands. This is how the best teams are playing these days. This is what rugby is supposed to look like. How refreshing.
Kurt-Lee Arendse, another new South African star, score his side’s second try with an interception and once Scott Barrett had been dismissed, the outcome was all but inevitable. Marx struck for the Boks just after half-time and the magnificent Moodie was denied a memorable solo try by a minor infringement in the build-up.
But the Boks kept coming and scored again as a lineout drive ended with Bongi Mbonambi touching down. Kwagga Smith was next to puncture the New Zealand defence and maintain the onslaught, before Cam Roigard snatched a long-range consolation for the humbled All Blacks.
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