JOHANNESBURG – “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.”
That was the reaction of Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus following his side’s epic, come-from-behind win against the All Blacks in a Rugby Championship match played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington yesterday.
The Boks rallied from being 12-0 down inside 20 minutes to triumph 36-34, and register their first win on New Zealand soil since 2009.
The victory came after Erasmus’ team lost back-to-back Tests against Argentina and Australia recently, which left the Boks and their coach under huge pressure going into yesterday’s game.
The 36 points scored by the Boks is the most points any New Zealand side in history have conceded on home soil.
New Zealand boss Steve Hansen will be ruing the fact his team gifted the Boks 14 points through two intercept tries, scored by Cheslin Kolbe and Willie le Roux, and a further eight missed points by his own team, following missed conversion kicks by Beauden Barrett.
“The boys showed guts, and I am so glad for them,” said Erasmus.
“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 October 6).”
Captain Siya Kolisi said the win was special, given the many challenges faced by the team in the build-up to the tie and during the 80 minutes.
Both centres – Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am – left the field with injuries while Le Roux was sin-binned late in the match.
“We kept our focus and we really had belief,” said the Bok leader.
“We wanted to look each other in the eye and say we did the best we could against the best team in the world.
“The boys did just that, and I am so proud of them.
“It’s a special win, a special day, and I’m so proud of the guys. I’m also glad we could make South Africa proud again.”
The other three Bok tries were scored by hooker Malcolm Marx and wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, who bagged a brace.
The Boks are now second on the Rugby Championship table with 11 points after two wins – against New Zealand and Argentina.
The men from South America are third with nine points following their 23-19 win over the Wallabies yesterday, and the latter are in fourth spot on five log points.
New Zealand lead the way with a three-from-four record and 17 points.
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 victory over the @AllBlacks on Saturday morning (SA time) in Wellington. @MTNza @ASICS_ZA @CastleLagerSA pic.twitter.com/Qb853ZukZN