Wellington – The Springboks celebrated their last-gasp, 16-16 draw with the All Blacks as a win on Saturday but said it would have no bearing on their blockbuster clash at the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen meanwhile said he was “quietly excited” with the way his side performed, despite Herschel Jantjies’ late converted try which left the scores level.
While the Boks were jubilant, the All Blacks trudged from the field in Wellington as if they had lost. The two sides will meet again in the World Cup group stage on September 21.
“We won 16-all,” is how Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus described the result. “We take a lot of belief out of this game.”
The Springboks dominated the first half only to trail 7-6 at the break, and were then outplayed in the second half before producing the equalising try in the final minute.
“We certainly take a lot of positives out of this because (New Zealand) are the world’s number one team, they’re the benchmark. We all strive to be where they are,” Erasmus said.
However, Erasmus it was no indication of what shape the teams would be in when they meet in Japan in two months, with the loser likely to face Ireland in the quarter-finals.
He pointed to the build-up to the 2011 World Cup, when South Africa also beat New Zealand but it was the All Blacks who went on to win the ultimate prize.
Hansen, bidding for a third consecutive world title after also guiding the All Blacks to victory 2015, played down the draw and the All Blacks’ error count, which was especially high in the first half.
“We’ve got a plan, we’re reasonably happy with where we’re going,” he said.
“Whilst I know a lot of people won’t be happy with a lot of mistakes, neither are we, but we’re also seeing enough things in our game to get quietly excited.”