Jantjies saves the game with a late, late Boks try

Jantjies saves the game with a late, late Boks try

It was that man Herschel Jantjies again!

The newcomer, and unknown but always impressive scrumhalf throughout his first Super Rugby season, scored his third try in his second test match with less than a minute’s playing time left. It gave the Springboks a well-deserved 16-all draw in the Rugby Championship test against the All Blacks.

Jantjies came on early in the second half when Faf de Klerk, who had a very good test match, had to leave the field and didn’t return after he couldn’t pass his HIA (“concussion” test).

The try was set up after a break down the blindside with good, crisp passing by the Springboks after a ruck. Cheslin Kolbe, who was dangerous every time he touched the ball and also defended well against bigger opponents chipped ahead. On his inside Jantjies gave chase as the ball came down, got his hands ahead of Aaron Smith's, and with the ball bouncing from the Springbok scrumhalf’s head and shoulder, he regathered in the air to score.

Both sides scored one try, the All Blacks doing so in the last minute of the first half against the run of play, and the Boks reciprocating in the last minute of the second half – also against the run of play!

Mistakes and uncertainty on both sides did not take a single moment’s pleasure or excitement from the match, each side dominating a half with the New Zealanders having far more of the second half’s play than the Boks did before the break.

♦ The scoreline was 16-9 to the All Blacks when the try was set-up by a brilliant scrum by the Springboks deep in their own territory, followed by a penalty, a ruck and then the breakaway.

Handré Pollard seemed nerveless as he struck the ball 15 metres in from the right touchline, it went through the middle and the match was drawn.

Both sides scored one try, the All Blacks doing so in the last minute of the first half against the run of play, and the Boks reciprocating in the last minute of the second half – also against the run of play!

♦ The Springboks dominated the first half against an averaging-looking All Blacks unit who made mistakes under pressure of a rush-defence and were also well-held when they tried to run from broken play. However, the Springboks, with more than 60% of the possession and territory, although often running impressively but not effectively enough, didn’t take their chances and never looked like scoring.

Nor the All Blacks, with their lesser possession and territory under great pressure of the rush-defence.

Then, with only 90 seconds of the first half to go, a litany of errors and uncertain play gave the All Blacks a first real sniff. Beauden Barrett, who looked fairly dangerous when he tried to run from behind, which was rare as the Boks cut their kicks to him to a minimum, had a man-over on the right touchline,

He ran well, too far from Makazole Mapimpi to get close enough from an effective tackle, played to the inside and Jack Goodhue scored his first try against South Africa for an undeserved 7-6 lead for the home side at halftime.

The second half was one-way traffic as the All Blacks won the rucks and the mauls at a rate of four to one. They changed their approach, started their running game and had the South Africans desperately defending as they did last year when they won by two points.

A change in front-row personnel after the All Blacks had won two scrum penalties saw a change in the dominance in this facet, with Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi and Beast Mtawarira turning the Boks fortunes around.

It was from a scrum penalty under pressure deep in their own territory that the Boks got on the front foot for the equaliser to follow.

Scorers –
All Blacks (7) 16:
Try: Jack Goodhue. Conversion: Beauden Barrett. Penalties: Barrett, Richie Mo’unga (2).
Springboks (6) 16: Try: Herschel Jantjies. Conversion: Handré Pollard. Penalties: Pollard (3).