New Zealand, who had just suffered two consecutive defeats at home against Ireland, chained a third consecutive setback by falling 26 to 10 on their visit to South Africa, this Saturday in Nelspruit, for the first day of the Rugby Championship 2022.
The Springboks, defending world champions, scored a try in each half of the game, signed by Kurt-Lee Arendse (minute 8) and Willie Le Roux (80). Fly half Handré Pollard got all the other points from the locals with his foot.
The utterly dominated All Blacks could only reply with a Jordie Barrett penalty just before half-time and a late-match try by Shannon Frizell, with South Africa reduced to fourteen players by Arendse’s exclusion.
In the duels between both powers, South Africa continues to dominate at home when it plays against New Zealand, now by 26 wins against 24.
In the Rugby Championship, which is completed by Argentina and Australia, New Zealand are the defending champions and have won eight of the last ten editions, but their current form does not seem the best to aspire to a new title.
The two recent home defeats against Ireland (23-12 and 33-22) set off alarm bells and put coach Ian Foster in a very difficult situation. Two of his deputies, John Plumtree and Brad Mooar, were fired.
Following the Nelspruit setback, the All Blacks have lost five of their last six matches, including defeats to Ireland (29-20) and France (40-25) on the 2021 finals test-match tour.
In the world ranking, New Zealand fell to number four and all the alarms are on one year before the World Cup in France.
Without much time to digest this defeat, Foster and his pupils will have to analyze how to correct the course in the second day, on Saturday of next week, where they will visit South Africa again, in this case in Johannesburg.