Loftus Versveld was host to one of the most anticipated rugby tests of all time. Two weeks’ prior, the Springboks showed concrete grit and world class technical ability to defeat the All Blacks at home, a feat that was last achieved almost 10 years ago.
Fast forward a week from then, and the Boks have the rare opportunity to put two consecutive wins past the defending world champions.
The build up to the clash was one embraced by the entire nation of South Africa. Social media was rampant with support and predictions from the rugby community as well as fellow countrymen.
A sold out Loftus was packed with a majority Bok crowd, comprising more than 90% of the entire turnout. The stage was set for a mouth-watering clash of giants.
The game commenced and the Springboks came out in full gear utterly dominating every aspect of the game. New Zealand seemed to be shell-shocked by the support and flabbergasted at every play the Bok’s produced. The half time tally ended at 6-6, a score line which is far from justified if you were wearing a Bok jersey.
The Springboks continued their dominance in the second half, playing a tactical game of kicking for territory. To top off their territory and possession supremacy, the Boks ignited the Loftus crowd with two quickfire tries after the break.
Reaching the final quarter of the game, the Boks had a resounding 30-13 lead, leaving All Black supporters forlorn and ready to accept a second consecutive defeat.
But the game was far from over. Showing why they are world champions and number one on the rankings, New Zealand punished the Bok’s with three tries in the last quarter to level the score at 30-30 with a conversion to come. This can be deemed as either the greatest comeback, or the greatest choke of the decade. Loftus was stunned to silence. Every supporter was perplexed as to how a lead of 18 points can be thrown away in such a short space of time. The proverbial nail was lodged in the coffin when Richie Mo’unga converted the try to give the All Blacks the victory.
“Let’s face it. The Springboks produced a monumental choke, a confidence-sapper which negates the advances achieved in Wellington. They absolutely blew it, more than the All Blacks won it,” said New Zealand columnist Chris Rattue.
Despite disappointing a nation, there were many positives to take from this clash, the main one being that the Bok’s seemed to have been revived in the last few weeks and have put their hands up as serious contenders for the World Cup next year.
One thing remains certain, the much loved Springbok – All Black rivalry of old is back with a bang!