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'Faultless and flawless': How South African media reacted to big win over the All Blacks

By Sam Smith
Caleb Clarke of New Zealand and Damian Willemse of South Africa during The Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at Mbombela Stadium on August 06, 2022 in Nelspruit, South Africa. (Photo by Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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A ‘faultless and flawless’ Springboks performance has been hailed by South African media as they ‘bullied’ the All Blacks in Mbombela.


Their 26-10 victory was the second largest points margin victory over their Kiwi rivals and largest victory over the All Blacks in 94 years.

Foster’s All Blacks slumped to their third consecutive defeat and South African media did not rate their prospects of turning their form around next week highly.

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All Blacks post-match press conference
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All Blacks post-match press conference

They were described as a ‘callow’ team that is in ‘disarray’ that struggled to deal with the power game from the South Africans.

South African rugby writer Mark Keohane said “the Boks were the best by some margin” in Mbombela, while his belief that the visitors were ‘imposters’ was vindicated by the crushing defeat.

“My narrative was also that these All Blacks in South Africa are imposters to that legacy and wouldn’t be fit to tie the laces of some of those giants in black,” he wrote for

“It was vindication of this belief as the Boks crushed the All Blacks 26-10. It could have been closer to a 30-point differential but the respect the boys in green have for those in black kept it reasonable.


“There was only one side in this contest – and only winner. It will be the same a week from now.”

Craig Ray of The Daily Maverick was scathing in his assessment of the All Blacks’ attacking performance and said that head coach Ian Foster’s time in charge is approaching the final hours after the loss.

Ray surmised that the Springboks could have put a score of 40 or more on them had they been more accurate and after such a defeat the tourists would ‘limp to Ellis Park’.

“New Zealand hardly had any ball, they lost the aerial battle, they were destroyed on the ground and smothered when they did try to launch attacks,” Ray wrote in his column.


“Ian Foster’s time in charge is now surely measured in hours, not days as his side slumped to a third consecutive defeat.

“South Africa’s power game was too much for this callow New Zealand side to handle.

“New Zealand were bullied in contact and relentlessly knocked back when they did have the ball.”

“The All Blacks will limp to Johannesburg for the second Test at Ellis Park next week, but they won’t be relishing the challenge if the outcome and performance at Mbombela was anything to go by. If the Boks were more accurate on attack, they could have scored 40 points or more.”


Khanyiso Tshwaku of Sport24 described the win as their “most tactical assured showing” since the World Cup in an aggressive display of dominance over the All Blacks.

“The Springboks produced an uncompromisingly physical, rabidly aggressive and their most tactical assured showing since becoming World Champions to break their eight-year hoodoo against the All Blacks,” Tshwaku wrote.

“It wasn’t pretty – seldom is the Bok way of rugby – and it is said that only a mother could love how they go about their business.

“It was aggressive. It was physical. It was faultless and flawless in every sense.”

Mike Greenaway of IOL Sport questioned why a result like this has been so long in the making after just three wins over the last decade.

He did not rate the All Blacks chances of bouncing back next week and expected more misery for the Kiwis.

“And the utter domination of the South Africans over the former No 1 team in the world begs the question of why it took so long,” he wrote.

“The Kiwis are indeed a team in disarray, and having been completely smothered by the Springboks, it is hard to see them recovering at Ellis Park next week in the return match of the Rugby Championship.”


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