All Blacks 14 – 10 Springboks
Wallabies 32 – 25 Pumas
The revealing moment of the match in Wellington on Saturday night, for me, came after the final whistle.
Did you watch the handshakes? Genuine warmth and respect between all the players. And then the NZRU presented Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana with gifts to mark their 100 tests.Embed from Getty Images
Contrast that with the correct but cool handshakes with the Wallabies at Sydney and Auckland. It looked like the ABs think the Wallabies, as a team, have not earned the right to be treated as peers. Pretenders rather than challengers.
Those two Rugby Championship matches in Saturday certainly confirm the rankings. The Boks were hard at it for 80 minutes, showing a steeliness in defence and a willingness in attack that commands respect.
The Wallabies meanwhile played unconvincingly against the worst Puma performance of the season. In the last ten minutes the Pumas had the winning of the game, but made bad decisions in clutch plays. If they learn from those, they’ll be a better team for it.
The problem for the Wallabies is that they may not learn from two close, lucky wins in the last fortnight. They’re likely to look at the table and think they’re progressing. They’re not.