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Second test - Newlands - August 8, 1970

Subtle, yet intense the pressure mounted in the All Black camp. Winston McCarthy - a former New Zealand rugby commentator- responsible for the mounting pressure in the AB camp with his weekly newspaper report, published in New Zealand; his information was that there were dissatisfaction in the AB camp with coach Ivan Vodanovich. The players "Were getting on top of their coach" he wrote in classical New-Zealand cut-down-the-tall-poppy style.

Brain Lochore strongly denied these allegations indicating that the players -as on any other stage on tour- were willing to die for the coach. “There is no truth whatsoever in the allegations that we are getting on top Ivan”, said Lochore. Ron Burk - AB-team manager- saw it for what it was and noted that the article isn’t worth replying to.

Kiwi supporters were everywhere to be seen in Cape Town and there were reports of incidents where some were attacked and robbed, and word was out that tourists should move around in groups. The mental games was in full swing; the Springboks again had their training sessions within a high security area, namely the Pollsmoor prison. There were rumours that Lofty Nel was brought in to replace Piet Greyling. NZ issued confusing media statements regarding when and where the All Black team is going to prepare for the test.

The Springbok team for the second test was unchanged while NZ made five changes, namely Sutherland (No. 5), Wylie (No. 4) and Thimbleby (No. 1), Kirton (10 to replace Cottrell) and Davis at centre in place Thorne which were moved to the wing in place of Malcolm Dick. There were concerns over the fitness of Thimbleby, Sutherland and Wylie and Muller; all struggling with soft tissue injuries (muscle injuries). Thimbleby were not able to recover in time and did not play. The New Zealand team can be seen here.

South African sport journalists generally predicted a win for the Springboks if they were able to repeat their performance of the first test.

New Zealand 9 / South Africa 8

Newlands rugby stadium where the second Test was played. 

Test program

The second Test at Newlands will be remembered for the raw, uncompromising rugby and the ruggedness of the match; no doubt emanating from the critical importance of the test, for both teams. NZ had to win at all costs in order to stay in with a change to win the series and the Springboks wanted to eliminate any risk of losing the series. 

The forwards, fought like devils among themselves and some of the rucks were so furious that it left the spectators in the pavilion upset. Piston van Wyk was led off the field after one such ruck -were players were cleared out with the rugby boots- with blood streaming down his face. Sid Nomis was knocked unconscious by Fergie McCormick and there were times during the match when the players openly laid into each other with the knuckels, knees, elbows and boots. 

Piston van Wyk on the receiving end of a Alan Sutherland punch with Hannes Marais already on the way down. 

A bloodied Piston van Wyk being led off the field. 

Robbie Barnard who replaced Piston van Wyk. This was the only test Barnard played in his career.

NZ clearly wanted to dominate at the breakdowns and South Africa refused to allow it. Physical presence and intimidation at the contact point was essential. It was war and all conceivable methods; rucking with the rugby boots; late tackling; jersey pulling; barging; bullying and punching was used to obtain dominance at the breakdowns.

It was a dramatic game in which the Springboks hang onto a slender lead after edging ahead on the scoreboard in the middle of second half. Mannetjies Roux, however, eventually went off-side to prevent a certain try with three minutes left on the clock and McCormick kicked a dramatic penalty and NZ won with one point. The excitement was intense when McCormick lined-up for the kick and there were rumours that an older Afrikaner (Erenst Grundelingh, according to Terry McLean) dropped dead from a heart attack in the crowd as McCormick kicked. 

Fregie McCormick kicking for goal in the second test

Several former Springboks, SA rugby board members as well as the majority of the many rugby journalists voiced their dissatisfaction in no uncertain terms with the manner in which this test was played. David writes as follows about the game:

It was a match of raw, uncompromising rugby and the ruggedness of it restricted the basic qualities of fast, open attack. “They asked for it,” one All Black stated simply. It was quite obvious that New Zealand was not going to pussy-foot their way through today’s eighty minutes as they did in the first test at Pretoria. There was a robust, even angry approach from the first ruck.

The late tackling was shocking. It came from both sides, but was started by the Springboks. It was rugby in the raw and it was perhaps unfortunate that the match was never a spectacle. But try telling 55,000 people that it wasn’t a game that entertained. It was thrilling, chilling and suspenseful. It held complete interest until the final whistle. At times it was primitive rugby, but it was a test that will be remembered.

NZ, according to David, deserved to win, and they were in his opinion at least 10 points better than the Springboks. Lochore was brilliant and Kirkpatrick had without a doubt, according to Gabriel David, demonstrated that he was the best flanker in world rugby. Just as few paragraphs later he contradicts himself, however, when he wrote that Jan Ellis was the best loose forward on the field. 

Ian Kirkpatrick who -according to the Kiwi scribes- proved in this test that he was the best flanker in world rugby, on the run, in the second test.

Kirkpatrick scoring his try after breaking through the tackles of Piet Visagie and Ian McCallum. He was a hard man to stop due to his size and speed but he was well containned in the other three test matches.

Regarding individual performances David writes as follows:

Wylie was a success although some of his off-side play almost lost the game. Sutherland, probably more by habit, was inclined to hang round the back of the rucks but he was certainly no failure at lock. Strahan helped Lochore to win the lineout dual, 20-12 while Muller, Hopkinson and McLeod made sure the rucks went New Zealand’s way, 20-6.

New Zealand’s seasoned tactical combination of Laidlaw and Kirton went into operation today and played a major role in the ultimate victory. Kirton played judiciously and made one brilliant break that would certainly have provided a try had there been someone in support. MacRae took a battering from Jansen and Roux but absorbed it all. Davis did not handle the pressure well, one dropped pass, throwing away a certain try. Williams and Thorne were virtually unemployed on the wing because of the tactical nature of the game.

Jansen was the most penetrating backline player on the field and scored South Africa's only try. Visagie draw both MacRae and Davis on him with an angled run after a solid scrum by the Springboks and made a clever inside pass to Jansen who came in sharp and fast from deep and crashed through two defenders for his try. 

Smart play by Piet Visagie created South Africa’s only try. 

Boks' points scorers in this test. Ian McCallum on the left kicked a conversion and a penalty; Joggie Jansen on the right crashed through two defenders after a scissors move with Piet Visagie, to score the Springboks only try. 

Here is video material of Jansen’s try.

Laidlaw scored for NZ after 10 minutes when Piston van Wyk fumbled at a lineout close to the Springboks goal line and knocked the ball backwards. Laidlaw was through in a flash and due to a favourable bounce were able to get hold of the ball and dive over in the corner for the first points in the game. 

Laidlaw scoring for NZ after 10-minutes in the first half.

Laidlaw’s try can be seen here.

Bryan Williams went over after 25 minutes play in the in the 2nd half but the referee –after some consultation with the linesman- denied the try. 

As can be seen here it was a Springbok defender whose leg hit the corner flag and not Bryan Williams. It would have been tragic if this incident (error by referee and linesman) resulted in New Zealand losing the test.

See video material of this incident here.

In the 75th minute McCallum was successful with a 35 meter penalty and South Africa took the lead, 8-6. With 3 minutes to go the AB got a penalty after off-side play by Roux and McCormick was successful with a 20 meter kick in the most exciting circumstances imaginable for NZ to win with one point.

Laidlaw and Kirkpatrick scored for NZ and McCormick was successful with a penalty. Jansen scored for South Africa and McCallum succeeded with the conversion and one penalty.

Kirkpatrick’s try can be seen on this link.

Run of the game

McCormick kicked off from the Wynberg side with the wind at his back. Two minutes after the start McCormick was short with a 48 meter penalty attempt; the tense atmosphere surrounding the game was already evident as the first fighting broke out among the forwards.

Sutherland made a poor attempt at a penalty from the middle of the half-way line in the sixth minute but constant pressure by the AB resulted in a try by Laidlaw shortly thereafter when the ball spilled loose after an untidy short throw-in at a lineout on the Springboks goal line. McCormick were unsuccessful with the conversion.

Visagie and McCallum missed with penalties in the next 5 minutes, but it was the All Blacks who generally controlled the game for the rest of the first half.

Two minutes before half time New Zealand won a scrum inside the Springboks 25 and seemed at first unsure what to do with the ball until it was passed to Ian Kirkpatrick who set off on a brilliant run. He evaded several defenders and scored a good try just right of the posts. McCormick attempted conversion was a poor effort and the teams went to the halftime break with the score 6-0.

Bryan Williams had a brilliant run down the right hand touch line narrowly failing to score, thirteenth minute after halftime. Nomis was knocked with an elbow in the mouth a minute later by McCormick when rushing after a chip kick over McCormick’s head. Visagie miss the penalty that resulted from this incident.

South Africa scored after nineteen minutes into the 2nd half when Visagie fed Jansen with a short pass after a scrum close to the All Blacks line. Jansen crashed through Thorne and Lochore for his try. McCallum was successful with the easy conversion; the score was 6-5. Shortly hereafter McCormick missed again with a 27 meters penalty when Ellis late-tackled Laidlaw.

Four minutes later, Williams received the ball from Laidlaw on the blindside and went on another brilliant run beating Gert Muller with sheer speed. He and a defender went over in the corner in a heap and the referee ruled a try but touch judge Max Blaise indicate Williams had hit the corner flag and the try was disallowed.

A vigorous ruck, few minutes later, broke up to reveal the Springbok hooker Piston van Wyk, lying on the ground. After treatment he was led from the field with blood pouring from his face. Nine minutes from full time New Zealand was penalized for playing off-side and McCallum successful with a 35 meter penalty put South Africa in the lead, 8-6.

New Zealand launching one desperate attack after the next one but the Springbok defense hold until Mannetjies Roux blatantly went off-side with three minutes left on the clock. McCormick landed the 20 meter penalty kick for NZ to take the lead, 9-8

From the restart the Springboks reacted magnificently; Nomis made one run, McCullum an absolute blinder of another. One, two, three – the rucks went on. In savage determination, the All Blacks won the one that mattered. The ball entered touch. The game was done.

See the second test highlights here.