Test rugby: All Blacks strangled, suffocated and bent to Boks' will

Here we go again. Another All Black loss in 2022, the third in four tests, another week of mounting pressure on the coaching staff and the people that put them there.

The 26-10 loss to the Springboks in Mbolemba was another extension of the gaping wound that is the national side, now festering with pus and infection, stinking to high heaven of defeat and desperation.

The only time New Zealanders had likely heard of the north eastern South African city was when the All Whites drew with Italy in the 2010 Football World Cup in the same park. 42,000 packed into Mbolemba Stadium to watch a clinical Springbok performance, very much the game they tried to play against the All Blacks in Townsville last year but perfected by better defence and control of possession.

That control meant it took 13 minutes for the All Blacks to even really touch the ball. To make matters worse, it wasn't until the 50th minute that they even got into the Springbok 22 - which was promptly turned over after a handling error.

Even when things didn't go the Springboks' way, they turned it into a positive. Faf de Klerk was knocked out of the game with barely any time gone, but all that meant was Jaden Hendrikse came on to play an absolute blinder at halfback. Malcolm Marx had issues with the lineout early but more than made up for it with a dominant performance at the ruck in his 50th test.

In contrast, nothing the All Blacks did worked at all. Their defence was again extremely passive, with Damian de Allende trucking it up the middle like an NRL second-rower all game, Kurt-Lee Arendse showing that a player weighing 76 kgs can cause havoc at test level (until he was sent off for a foolish charge on Beauden Barrett late in the game) and Handre Pollard simply slamming the ball downfield knowing full well that his cover defence would have no problems with the ball being returned.

The only shot fired was a try that came far too late, sparked by a break by Caleb Clarke and finished by Shannon Frizell. The blindside then undid his good work moments later by shelling a pass in his 22 and letting Willie le Roux run in a try that pushed the score out to a comfortable margin. If the selectors think Frizell is an answer, it's probably not even a question worth asking.

So where does this leave us? Pretty much where we were anyway, but now with the prospect of a daunting visit to Ellis Park in a week's time. This was the Springboks' first win over the All Blacks at home since 2014, a test that immediately entered mythical status due to the adventurous nature of their performance. By comparison, this test seemed like a decent day at the office for them - no one was under any illusions that they'd do anything other than what they did, kicking and tackling their way to victory, no different to the way they'd go about beating Wales or Scotland.

That, in itself, is the most alarming feature of the way the All Blacks are playing right now.

Ian Foster made mention of the fact that "there's a number of guys playing here for the first time", which really isn't good enough in the professional era. The All Blacks aren't a development side, this isn't a full tour and there is more than enough experience in the squad to have prepared this team for this test.

"This is probably our best performance of the year" said Foster as well post-match, which seems somewhat laughable considering it was the heaviest defeat to the Springboks since 1928. But really, the sad truth is that he might be right. At least the All Blacks' defence kept out any prolonged visits to the 22 and disrupted the normally reliable South African set piece.

However, if that's all there is to brag about, then the labelling of this test shows just how delusional this side is about the way they are playing. As if it wasn't already, this is a serious crisis that is only going to get worse before it gets better.