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The big play by Codie Taylor that made Willie le Roux and Ellis Park furious

By Sam Smith
(Source/Sky Sport NZ)

The All Blacks trip to Ellis Park was a season-defining game in 2022 after they had lost four of their last five tests and staring at back-to-back losses to the Springboks.

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It is an understatement to say there was a lot riding the outcome with head coach Ian Foster’s job at stake. With 10 minutes remaining things looked grim for the All Blacks with one man in the bin, Beauden Barrett, and a 23-21 deficit to overcome.

After they scored through David Havili to take the lead by 28-23, a key sequence of events with three minutes remaining ultimately sealed the critical win and saved Foster.

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A big play by hooker Codie Taylor shook the South African crowd as he came up with a massive kick chase to pin the Springboks deep in their own half.

There were two defining touches by fullback Willie le Roux which sent the momentum in the All Blacks favour. The fullback firstly gambled on a kick return trying to make a play, running the ball back from deep but his winger Makazole Mapimpi got tackled and turned over by Sam Whitelock.

After weighing up a potential counter-attack, Jordie Barrett sent the ball deep with a long ranging kick which was chased hard by Taylor who was camping on the left wing.

The Crusaders hooker actually outpaced centre Luhkanyo Am down the sideline, highlighting the effort that the No 2 put into his chase.

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Barrett’s kick sat up perfectly for the All Blacks, forcing Le Roux to pick the ball up a metre from his goal line. The Bok fullback ended up with two All Blacks in his face, Taylor and Rieko Ioane who were bringing immense pressure.

He tried to get a kick away with no angle to do so, and Taylor got physical with him and to send him flying over the advertising hoardings for good measure.

The Ellis Park crowd in the vicinity of the tackle were up in arms in complete shock as the Boks had just conceded a five metre lineout after losing the arm wrestle.

Taylor walked to the lineout nonchalantly as members of the crowd stood up behind him and hurled whistles and taunts while a medic rushed to Le Roux’s aid, but the Springbok got to his feet quickly clearly unhappy with the hit.

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The huge effort by Taylor to pin Le Roux into the corner handed the All Blacks a five metre lineout which gave them the platform to seal the game.

The hooker nailed his throw moments later to Tupou Vaa’i and the All Blacks scored through Scott Barrett pushing over moments later to push the lead out to 35-23.

The final seven minutes at Ellis Park proved to be a turning point in the All Blacks season and the win kept their Rugby Championship title hopes alive, as well as keeping the Freedom Cup safe for another year.

They went on to win their eighth Rugby Championship title and 19th overall including the Tri-Nations era.

Watch Codie Taylor’s incredible kick chase on Willie le Roux below. 

 

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