Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Frizell’s fire ignites the All Blacks to victory over the Boks

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Shannon Frizell powers through a helpless Willie Le Roux for the All Blacks second try. Photo: Photosport
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

All Black prop Ethan de Groot on teammate Shannon Frizell: “I’d love to know what he had for breakfast, probably a bit of taro or something.”

In their first fixture on home soil for the year, the All Blacks have made a strong statement to the rest of the world ahead of the Rugby World Cup. 

The hosts were too classy for their South African opponents winning 35 – 20 in front of a roaring, sold out crowd at Go Media Stadium. 

Highlanders forward Shannon Frizell led from the front with multiple tackles and a powerful presence at the breakdown, leaving teammate Ethan de Groot wondering what ignited his fellow teammate.

“How good was he? Big Friz went real good tonight. I’d love to know what he had for breakfast, probably a bit of taro or something,” de Groot laughed.

That might just have been the performance to secure him the number six jersey for this year’s Rugby World Cup, at a time where the All Blacks selectors are making the difficult decisions on who to leave out for the tournament.

All Black halfback Aaron Smith went under the posts. Photo: PlanetRugby

It only took five minutes for the home side to find the try line. Halfback Aaron Smith went under the posts thanks to the elusive running skills of winger Will Jordan, with Richie Mo’unga converting. An extra three pointer from the boot of Mo’unga extended the lead to 10.

Then Frizell dashed over for the All Blacks’ second try in what was a 1995 Jonah Lomu-like moment, trampling over helpless South African fullback Willie Le Roux to score in the corner. Again, following some good leadup work by Jordan. Mo’unga added the extra points to push it to a 17 point lead.

With the first half winding down, the visitors finally got on the scoreboard through a penalty kick by scrum half Faf de Klerk but another three-pointer from the boot of Mo’unga extended the All Blacks score to 20 – 3 at half time.

Soon into the second half, the Springboks went to their powerful bench to change the game and it was one of those subs – Malcolm Marx – who scored their first try after a driving maul close to the line, closing the gap to 20 – 10. The All Blacks added a penalty before South Africans crossed for another try through star winger Cheslin Kolbe.

New Zealand secured a statement victory over South Africa in the second round of the 2023 Rugby Championship. Photo: Sky Sports.

However it was too little too late for the visitors as the All Blacks dotted down another two tries through Mo’unga and Crusaders teammate Will Jordan. The Springboks snuck in for consolation try in the last minutes of a match to busy loose forward Kwagga Smith.

Just like Frizell, Mo’unga was exceptional in the 10 jersey controlling the backline with  his kicking and precise playmaking. With only one miss off the kicking tee, Mo’unga reminded selectors of just what he’s able to achieve on the international stage. 

The Rugby Championship will conclude on July 29 when the Wallabies host the All Blacks in Melbourne and the Springboks host the Pumas in Johannesburg.

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