SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi lauded the self-belief and courage of the team after the South Africans scored an epic 36-34 victory over the All Blacks on Saturday morning (SA time) in Wellington.
The Boks rallied back from 12-0 down to beat the world champions by 36-34 in front of a capacity crowd at the Westpac Stadium in the Kiwi capital. It was the most points the All Blacks have ever conceded in New Zealand and South Africa’s first win in New Zealand since 2009.
Erasmus said the players deserve special praise for their courage on defence and execution of the game plan. The home team dominated possession and territory and forced the Boks to make more than 200 tackles during the game.
“The boys showed guts and I’m so glad for them,” said Erasmus.
“We will take this win over the best team in the world and enjoy it, but we will keep our feet firmly on the ground. We will not get ahead of ourselves. We still have a lot of work to do and the All Blacks will be fuming when they come to Pretoria (on 6 October).”
Kolisi said the win was special, given the many in game challenges the team had to face during the match. Both starting centres, Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am, left the field with shoulder injuries, while Willie le Roux (fullback) spent 10 minutes in the sin bin after he was yellow carded.
“We kept our focus and we really had belief,” said Kolisi.
“We wanted to look each other in the eye and said we did the best that we could against the best team in the world.
“The boys did just that and I’m so proud of all of them. Coach Rassie and the other coaching staff did an excellent job to prepare us for this Test after we lost the previous two.
“It’s a special win, a special day and I’m so proud of the guys and just glad we could make South Africa proud again.”
Le Roux scored on of the Boks’ five tries, while Aphiwe Dyantyi (wing) bagged a brace. Malcolm Marx drove over from a lineout maul and Cheslin Kolbe scored his first try in the Bok jersey from an intercept. Handre Pollard converted four and added a crucial penalty goal.