As the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup opening match ended in New Zealand’s 23-13 victory over South Africa, SportRazzi learnt Five things from the World Cup Pool B match that took place at the International Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday:
First, don’t believe over stretched hype
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has in past week said openly that his team were over the hill after losses in the past year to Ireland, South Africa and Australia.
He said repeatedly that winning a historical third consecutive World Cup title is what he was focusing towards and the defeats were secondary issues to him.
Following the World Cup opening game at the international Stadium in Yokohama, even Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus perceived that the New Zealand team are headed to another World Cup title win.
Second, remember it’s an 80-minute game
Springboks trailed 3-17 at half-time and clawed back to 13-17 with 20 minutes remaining.
Then when it seems like they could continue leading, the All Blacks’ extreme fitness and vigor came all out as they took charge for most of the final quarter and rebuilt the lead with two more penalties.
Third, Match stats favoures the losing side
It’s not about how you started, it’s about how you ended. It’s also not what you’ve got, it’s about what you do with what you got as South Africa found not maintaining the lead.
No doubt They enjoyed 59 percent of territory and 53 percent of possession, but it was the All Blacks who made the most of their limited opportunities.
Their two tries were both long-range affairs from turnover ball.
Fourth, It’s not over for South Africa
After South Africa have got over the embarrassing defeat and refocused on their next game against Namibia it possible they will bounce back.
We have not seen a team losing a pool match and gone on to win the World Cup, but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says that record is relevant only until someone breaks it.
If pool play rules goes accordingly, South Africa will likely face a quarter-final against Ireland while the All Blacks should be ready to meet Scotland.
Fifth, Penalties are costly
After all loud pre-match talks from the South African team about referees favouring New Zealand, French whistleblower Jerome Garces pinged the South Africans nine times to the All Blacks four.
At the time when Springboks were within four points of drawing level towards the end of the game they gave away two penalties which delivered six extra points to the All Blacks