VIDEO: Boks back on World Cup track
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP REACTION: South Africa have managed to regain the tag of World Cup contenders after their 36-34 win over New Zealand, according to coach Rassie Erasmus.
The victory was South Africa’s first win in New Zealand since 2009 and left the home side to chalk up their first Rugby Championship loss in three years.
It also snapped the visitors’ six-match losing streak to the All Blacks dating back to 2014.
Following back-to-back defeats to Argentina and Australia, a win in New Zealand appeared impossible for the Springboks.
However, Erasmus that they had always targeted the All Blacks game as a test of how quickly they could turn things around and be real contenders come the World Cup 2019.
The Springboks have 10 Test remaining ahead of next year’s World Cup in Japan.
“We were very close to losing three in a row, and that puts pressure on the team.
“Again, we not foolish we could have lost it in the last seconds but we very relieved and proud to beat All Blacks.
“When we started planning we thought there’s only one way to come back and that is to beat New Zealand in New Zealand,”
“That was a month ago. Then we lost those two games in a row and you lose some belief but we always targeted this game to say ‘we can turn things [around] and be real contenders at the World Cup’.”
“The Wolrd cup is still a year away and we have 10 test matches which we can try things and start building to a World cup squad of 31 or 37 men.
“It gives us hope to be real contenders and not just a wannabe,”
New Zealand outscored the Springboks six tries to five, but while Beauden Barrett had an off night with the boot, South African pivot Handre Pollard was successful with five out of six shots at goal.
The Boks were also forced to rally back from 0-12 down to score the most points the All Blacks have ever conceded in New Zealand.
Unlike the two previous weeks, the Boks looked stronger in defence as they were forced to make more than 200 tackles, while only enjoying 25 percent of the ball during the game.
“The modern game is so quickly that teams can score tries out of nothing. Normally it goes against us but this week it favoured us.
“We had to defend for what felt like hours and again it was always the last pass of New Zealand that could have stuck and they could have given us a massive hiding if the passes had stuck.
“It was a good effort defensively but there were some errors. But the players are starting to believe in the defensive systems which are a very positive sign,”