The All-Blacks looked the better of the two sides from the get-go, and won 32-12 in a match that was not even that close. New Zealand played with an intensity that had the Springboks on the back foot for most of the game. What really impressed me was the All Black scrum, who had a very, very strong game from their front row. The All Black dominance even carried over to the line-outs, where the Sprinboks and their all-world second row, Victor Matfield usually reign supreme.
Adding to the Springbok woes was finding out that Bakkies Botha will be suspended for 9 weeks-the rest of the Tri-Nations season for his head-butt on Cowan. The severity of the sanction is no doubt due to long rap sheet that the Blue Bulls second row has, including this year's Super 14 play-offs, after being suspended for a month on a reckless charge, and he received a two-week ban for the same offence against the British & Irish Lions last year. Going even further back, Botha was also forced to
miss three weeks of last year's Super 14 for striking and in 2003 he was suspended for eight weeks after spitting at, biting and eye-gouging Australian hooker Brendan Cannon.
The Springboks have a week to get their act together before taking on the All Blacks in Wellington, next Saturday. It cannot come soon enough for the South Africans to get the bad after taste out of their mouths from a very poor opening at Edcn Park.