There is an argument currently circulating that by kicking repeatedly rather than running as expected the All Blacks outfoxed the Springboks. But a two point win against a side that created nothing does not really support that.
It was like the mantra of trying things to put the team under pressure, that tactic apparently used in pool play, were tried again at a World Cup semi-final. Kicking your way out of trouble on defence is smart; trying up and unders when on attack 25 metres out was a tactic not really seen since the turgid days of Doug Bruce and Duncan Robertson.
It is something we will never understand as to why the All Blacks decided to play into the Springboks’ hands. This is not a great South Africa side, but the All Blacks strangely decided to play away from their strengths. A real feature of the All Blacks in the Hansen era has been patience; there was little of that here.
There were some things that were done well, most notably the drop goal from Carter which came at a nerve settling crucial time, and the improved second half discipline. Their tackling throughout was superb, and it is not often a Springbok lineout gets dominated. The All Blacks were the better team; it was just that they made it so hard for themselves..
The improvement in discipline was needed. Nine penalties were conceded in that first half, and the brainless concession of a fully justified yellow card at the end of the half by Kaino summed it up well.
In the end, the All Blacks put away the kicking game for long enough to manoeuvre Beauden Barrett in the corner, and the Springboks were always going to struggle coming from behind.
Their tactic of forcing errors through pressure and more pressure, so successful in the first 60 minutes then became limited. There was no change of gear available.
Finally, can we please put an end to this mutual love-in thing with the Springboks?