South Africa 22-29 New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Johannesburg, August 21
Devastated Smit takes share of the blame
August 21, 2010
John Smit has taken a share of the blame for his side's defeat © Getty Images
Springbok captain John Smit could not conceal his disappointment after his 100th Test match ended in a 29-22 defeat to New Zealand in Soweto.
Smit's side led until the dying minutes of the match, when Richie McCaw and Israel Dagg pounced for tries to seal the All Blacks' reclamation of the Tri-Nations title.
"I thought we controlled the first half well and played accurately and on our terms. In the second half we conceded a few penalties and missed touch kicks, which cost us," Smit said. "At 22-all we wanted to get into a good field position so that Morné Steyn can have a go at a drop-goal, but we turned over possession, I missed a crucial tackle and it was game over.
"I can't think of anything worse than losing your 100th Test by missing a tackle at the death. I'll be disappointed for a very long time."
Springbok coach Peter De Villiers made a number of changes to his side and was quick to praise the younger members of his team despite the result.
"The youngsters stepped up today and we can draw a lot of confidence from how they played," he said. "If we dictate territory and possession, we can beat any team. We lost some structure in the second half and were playing less direct and more defensive.
"Those two kicks that went long were probably the turning points, as it brought us back into our half and we had to defend, where we could've been on the attack. It's very painful, but we can take some heart from how we performed today. You need luck too, and today it went their way, as it did in the rest of the Tri-Nations. Winning becomes a habit, but so can losing and we're aware of that."
All Blacks coach Graham Henry was predicatably thrilled with his side's comeback and toasted a wonderful oaccasion.
"They don't get any bigger than that - a huge Test match, played in front of that crowd in that stadium," he said. "I'm sure it will be pretty significant for the people who were there today.
"I just felt so proud of what they've achieved. The character, backed by their guts and togetherness was superb. So I think it was a very special win by the All Blacks today, an outstanding result and something we will never forget as far as we're concerned."