Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has admitted that they were lucky to narrowly beat New Zealand 36-34 at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
The Boks survived a late onslaught from the All Blacks‚ who tried to steal the match in the dying seconds‚ to win by two points and register their first win over the bitter rivals since 2009 and refresh their Rugby Championship hopes.
“I am not foolish – this game could have gone totally against us in the dying seconds and we were a little bit lucky‚” Erasmus said after the Test at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
“We are relieved and proud that we have beaten New Zealand in New Zealand.
“When we started the planning for this match‚ we said we must try to beat them at home because we were at the back of two losses against Argentina and Australia and lost some belief.
“So‚ we targeted this game to say can we turn things around and become contenders during the World Cup. We could have lost but it gives us confidence because no one beat them here.”
Erasmus said that he does not want to talk too much about a Cosatu (the Congress of South African Trade Unions) accusing the coach on Friday of treating black players in the team “like second class citizens”.
“Our squad of 31 and the management team knows exactly where we stand with one another. The players know where they stand and it will be stupid to comment on something like that‚” Erasmus said.
He added that even though the Boks managed to beat the All Blacks‚ they respect the New Zealanders and are now looking for round two at Loftus in three weeks’ time.
“Everything we are saying here is not us boasting because we have the outmost of respect to New Zealand. We know where we are on the rankings‚ but we are happy for our country because it is rugby mad nation‚” Erasmus said.
“It is just that sometimes people lose belief and see problems where there are really no problems. We don’t think we are better than New Zealand‚ who we rate very highly.
“People back home and those who are here will be happy and our families will be happy‚ but there is no two ways about the fact that in three week’s time when they run out at Loftus they will be fuming and we will be in for a massive match again.”