25 Oct 2015

Dan Carter hailed as 'saving grace'

1:12 pm on 25 October 2015

The Springboks "rattled and rolled" the All Blacks, and there were fears that they would fall, but then "a bloke called Dan Carter" came and "put it all together again".

Handre Pollard of South Africa is tackled by Sonny Bill Williams

Handre Pollard of South Africa is tackled by Sonny Bill Williams Photo: AFP

That's the general summary the world media gave to the semi-final game in which the All Blacks beat the Springboks 20-18, securing New Zealand a place in the final against either Australia or Argentina.

The game was a "test of nerves", not only for the All Blacks but also the millions of Kiwis who woke early in New Zealand to cheer their team on, or who witnessed it live in action in the UK.

"In the first half of the semi-final against South Africa the All Blacks lost their heads, lost the aerial battle, lost the breakdown and lost the referee," Sydney Morning Herald rugby columnist Paul Cully wrote.

"Then a bloke called Dan Carter put it all together again in a masterful 10 minutes that turned the game," Cully wrote. The heading of his article summed up his praise, with 'Dan Carter rescues the All Blacks against South Africa".

But Cully also had praise for the Springboks, saying they "had brought what everyone thought they would", and describing their aerial work as "magnificent".

The Telegraph's Steve James, however, said the Boks lacked craft and their loss to old enemies was "unsurprising".

James also said the All Blacks were "far from perfect...but, when the crucial moments came, they delivered."

Trailing by five points at half-time, the All Blacks "looked anything but champion", The Guardian wrote.

But the team "found something from deep within to reach successive finals for the first time."

Many commentators mentioned how the All Blacks returned to the field to practice a few minutes before the start of the second half, alluding to that time as being crucial to their win.

The Telegraph's Paul Hayward was critical of the All Blacks, saying they "radiated a sense of entitlement", saying "a team who expect to dominate can unravel psychologically if a hostile script is chucked in their face".

The Springboks "rattled and rolled" them, but they came back to survive - a feat not all previous All Blacks teams would have been capable of, Hayward wrote.

"This one know how to recover and they sure as hell know how to win."

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