“To come away with a draw, I guess we’re satisfied with that. The first 35 minutes we played very well while they totally dominated the second half. So we were fairly lucky, in a big way,” said Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s national director of rugby, after the drawn Rugby Championship test in Wellington on Saturday.
Erasmus attributed the Springboks’ nail-biting 16-16 draw against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday evening (NZ time) to a heavy stroke of luck.
There were however positives to take from another massively tough tussle with the arch rivals, according to Erasmus.
“We certainly take a lot of positives out of this because they are the world's No 1 team, they're the benchmark and we all strive to be where they are.”
The Bok mentor was frustrated that his team did not collect more reward for their early efforts, when they were clearly dominant.
“I was frustrated in a sense that we dominated a lot of things except lineouts. All the other facets we dominated. Especially when they were almost under caution from the referee for repeated infringing and we missed the penalty when we could have gone nine points up, then they scored that turnover try and that swung the momentum.
Replacement scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies scored the match-saving try on fulltime, which Handré Pollard converted, to tie the game at 16-16 after the All Blacks had managed to break the Springboks’ tight defensive grip in the second half.
“To play the No 1 team in the world and be lucky at the end there, it was almost like last year,” Erasmus said after the second round Rugby Championship match.
“Right at the end we could have lost it and we managed to draw the game, and Handré could have missed that last kick – so we could have lost that game.”