Springboks’ Kolisi warns ‘hard work starts now’ after rout of All Blacks

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TWICKENHAM – South Africa captain Siya Kolisi warned the “hard work starts now” after the reigning champions completed their World Cup preparations with a 35-7 win over 14-man New Zealand at Twickenham on Friday, the All Blacks’ heaviest defeat of all time.

The Springboks ran in five tries, Kolisi leading the way before wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, hooker Malcolm Marx and replacements Bongi Mbonambi and Kwagga Smith all went over.

Fly-half Manie Libbok converted the lot as the Springboks easily topped their previous largest winning margin over their arch-rivals and fellow three-time men’s World Cup winners, achieved in a 17-0 win back in 1928. 

It was also an ideal way for South Africa to serve notice of their intentions ahead of a title defence they start against Scotland in Marseille on September 10.

Kolisi, who returned to action following a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament in April during last weekend’s 52-16 rout of Wales in Cardiff, was delighted by the support his side received from a capacity crowd of nearly 82,000 at English rugby’s headquarters.

“To see so many beautiful South Africans here, I can’t tell you how proud I am,” said the Springboks 2019 World Cup-winning skipper. 

“We knew we had to start up front with the forwards. Our backs are special. We had to concentrate hard.”

The 32-year-old flanker added: “Proud of the boys, but we know the hard work starts now. We have to go and defend the World Cup in France.”

South Africa were caught cold when they last played New Zealand in July, with the All Blacks racing into an early 17-0 lead before winning 35-20 in Auckland.

But it was a different story at Twickenham, with South Africa missing several early chances before Kolisi was driven over from close range.

“For us, it’s a good performance in terms of again certain things we wanted to get right,” said Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber. 

“Then there’s a lot of things that we didn’t get right. I thought we had a lot of opportunities in the first 20 minutes. I think in the whole game there was about eight opportunities where we got held up twice.”

– ‘Got an uppercut’ –

New Zealand had to play more than half the match a man down when Scott Barrett was sent off shortly before the break for a second yellow card after the lock flew into a ruck and clattered Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx in the head.

South Africa made their advantage count, with 20-year-old Canan Moodie, making his first Test start at centre after being moved from the wing, one of several Springbok backs who impressed following a dominant display by the pack.

New Zealand’s defeat topped their two previous worst losses, 21-point defeats to Australia in 1999 (28-7) and 2019 (47-26). 

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