Kieran Read says the All Blacks will remain wary of the Springbok’s improved attacking threats as Rugby World Cup year looms.

The New Zealand captain claimed he always knew “there was plenty of time” for the All Blacks to recover from a 23-6 deficit and win the game at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

The All Blacks edged it 32-30 after Ardie Savea’s late try was converted by Richie Mo’unga to avenge the Springboks’ 36-34 win in Wellington.

Honours were squared in the 2018 series with both teams tallying 66 points, including nine tries, across the two encounters.

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All Blacks’ final flurry buries Boks


The All Blacks steal victory over South Africa with two tries in the last five minutes at Loftus Versfeld.

Toss in the All Blacks’ 25-24 win in Cape Town in the final round in 2017 and no more than two points have separated the two sides in the last three matches since the All Blacks thrashed South Africa, 57-0, at Albany last year.

It all sets the scene for 2019 when the All Blacks and South Africa resume their rivalry with a single round Rugby Championship encounter before squaring off in their World Cup pool opener in Yokohama in September.

Read admitted the Springboks had “dictated” for most of the match in Pretoria before two late tries got the Rugby Championship winners across the line.

Asked to reflect on the Springboks’ recent resurgence, he said they had given the All Blacks “a helluva game in Cape Town”.

“We just snuck across the line there.

“They are a side that is very capable when they turn up,.

“They’ve shown this year against us, and at home against Australia, that they know how to win in some tight situations.”

Themba Hadebe

Kieran Read admitted the Springboks ‘dictated’ play for most of the Pretoria test.

Read said “tonight it went our way”, but the All Blacks would never take the Springboks lightly.

“They’re a side that always has a great forward pack, and they’ve got that…

“But they’ve also got some smart men.”

Read felt Handre Pollard, the Springboks’ first five-eighth, was “really coming into his own” and Rassie Erasmus’ team had had plenty of “attacking threats out wide”, who score some great tries.

“That makes us really analyse them …

“They’re a team that’s going really well, and we really respect that.”

Read refused to be drawn into a debate over whether the Springboks’ late substitutions – which saw influential halfback Faf de Klerk and man of the match hooker Malcolm Marx replaced – had hurt the home team.

He insisted he was not surprised to see the Boks go to their bench.

“You can put pressure on some guys if they are asked to play 80 minutes. They’ve got quality guys across the park.”

Read believed momentum had swung towards the All Blacks in the final 10 minutes. 

“Would it have happened the same [without the substitutions]? I’m not sure.”

While he declared it was “one of those games where all the way through the game you think, you’re not going to win”, he and his teammates never gave up hope.

“You’ve got to have belief, somewhere deep inside you, to keep yourself going… I think we showed that tonight and to come out on the right side of it, it’s an awesome feeling”

Read “always felt there was plenty of time on the clock”, even with the All Blacks’ trailing by as many as 17 points.

“[With] 10 minutes to go, down 12 [points], I thought we were right in it [because] we finally had some momentum.

“We’d finally got the ball, maybe looked after it a bit better and got in their half.”

Read credited the Springboks for dictating play for “the majority of the game”.

“We didn’t really have much chance to impart anything on them. That’s probably one thing we will really look back on and try and improve.”

Read hailed his players’ resolve on defence, although he admitted they “maybe worked a bit too hard and were a bit too urgent at times”, which led to giving away some penalties.

“But the effort from the guys was outstanding, and that’s what you want to see.”