the rugby championshipThe Springboks won the battle, but lost the war to the All Blacks in a physical Rugby Championship match at Eden Park with the All Blacks winning 29-15.  There is more talk after the game about the number of yellow cards dished out by referee Romain Poite than the four tries to two win to the men in black,

I have rarely seen as much bloodshed as I did at Eden Park with the Springboks making mincemeat of some of the All Blacks.  Dan Carter is out of the Rugby Championship following a controversial tackle by Springboks hard-man Bismarck du Plessis.  Personally I thought Dan Carter was tackled by a hard but fair tackle which hurt his shoulder.  What a hospital pass by Aaron Smith!

French referee Romain Poite defied logic by using the TMO only to make up his own mind and rule that du Plessis’s tackle was dangerous.  Is Poite now more hated in South Africa than Bryce Lawrence?

I thought this first yellow card was unfair, it was an awesome tackle.  I did think however that the second yellow card awarded to Bismarck du Plessis which saw him get sent off was an incident more deserving of a yellow card, although a penalty would have been all that some might have thought it was worthy of.  The red card ruined what would have been a close match.

It is never nice to see bloodshed in a rugby match, but these incidents were hardly surprising given the physical element that the Springboks brought to the game.  The All Blacks dressing room must have resembled a casualty ward after the game with Sam Cane, Dan Carter, Israel Dagg, Liam Messam and Julian Savea leaving the field with various injuries.  The All Blacks will definitely have their depth tested following this match.  The amazing thing is that the Springboks didn’t seem to get many injuries compared with the All Blacks.

I thought the Springboks played well and Bismarck du Plessis was awesome despite being a villain for being sent off.  I was impressed by the Springboks pack, especially young Eben Etzebeth.  Luckily the All Blacks have the knack of scoring against the run of play, but the Springboks first try with remarkable ease from a rolling maul.

It is hard to know what would have happened if the Springboks kept fifteen men on the park, although towards the end of the game there were only 27 men on the paddock with both Kieran Read and Ma’a Nonu sinbinned.

Beauden Barrett was great off the bench, while I thought Sam Cane and big Brodie Retallick were the best All Blacks.  Kieran Read was also great despite being yellow carded.

This was a strange game which the All Blacks deserved to win.  The Springboks were unlucky to be down to 14 men for much of the second half, but you must remember that it wasn’t the All Blacks fault this happened and when you bring such a physical attitude into a game then things can easily go wrong.

This sets the Rugby Championship up for a grand finale assuming the Springboks and All Blacks win next round.  The Rugby Championship goes on the line at Ellis Park.

In the other game the Wallabies won a disappointing game in wet weather by beating the Pumas in Perth 14-13.  This game only came to life in the second half but ended up being entertaining as the Wallabies just beat a fast finishing Argentina side.  The wet weather didn’t help this game, but these two teams will be battling with each other for the wooden spoon in a fortnight.

What did you think of the Rugby Championship 2013 Round 4?  Should Bismarck du Plessis have been red carded?