Faf and Jesse beat Aaron-them again


Springboks Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel were once again too strong for All Black stars Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett. This time in Japan.

De Klerk and Kriel’s Canon Eagles beat Smith and Barrett’s Toyota Verblitz 24 – 22 this past weekend. More than 31,000 spectators followed the action at Nissan Stadium in Kanagawa.

The last time these four players played against each other was in the World Cup final at the Stade de France; a showdown that the South Africans won 12 – 11.

The 35-year-old Smith now scored a try in the dying moments of the Eagles‑Verblitz matchup, but his team was again on the losing side.

It was reported earlier from New Zealand that the experienced scrumhalf’s try in the 54th minute of the World Cup final was also actually valid.

Smith – who then played in his last game for the All Blacks – sailed over the Springbok goal line after Richie Mo’unga’s good run, but TV referee Tom Foley’s keen eyes spotted a tackle in the run-up to the try.

He informed referee Wayne Barnes about it and a short time later it was decided that Smith’s three-point attempt did not count.

According to Stuff World Rugby – apparently in the privacy of its inner room – apparently admitted that it was the wrong decision.

However, the international rugby governing body threw its weight behind the match officials a short time later.

“We threw everything into the fight,” Smith later said of the final.

“South Africa simply stood its ground only in the important moments of the match; that’s how it goes in rugby sometimes. Test rugby can be unapproachable and it was an incredible game. Playing against the Springboks brings out the best in us.”

  • Teams:

Canon Eagles: Junpei Ogura, Inoke Burua, Jesse Kriel, Yusuke Kajimura, Matsui Chihito, Yu Tamura, Faf de Klerk, Sione Halasili, Naoto Shimada, Kobus van Dyk, Matthew Philip, Laikimatagi Moli, Ryosuke Iwaihara, Shunta Nakamura and Takato Okabe.

Toyota Corolla: Dick Wilson, Viliame Tuidraki, Siosaia Fifita, Charlie Lawrence, Yuki Okada, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Isaiah Mapusua, Kazuki Himeno, William Tupou, Tom Robinson, Ryoma Nishimura, Runya Che, Yoshikatsu Hikosaka and Shogo Miura.