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The test match – an out of the blue result

Review from RNZ by Jamie Wall
To think, when the media made our way into the bowels of Westpac Stadium last night, the attention was more on the latest crushing Silver Ferns loss than the impending test match. It was supposed to be another business as usual performance, a comfortable win, a piece of cake.

We’d all predicted it in our pieces leading up – even the two South African journalists who made the trek over. But by the end we were shaking their hands and patting them on the back as if they had been on the field themselves.

Seventy points, 11 tries, crunching tackles and a completely out of the blue result. Now that is a test match.

If you don’t respect the way the Springboks went about their stunning 36-34 win over the All Blacks, then you’re not a real rugby fan. Yes, it’s fine to be upset at some of the decision-making, whether it was Jordie Barrett’s disastrous quick lineout or leaving his brother Beauden as the goal kicker right up until the end. Or the shunning of a drop goal in favour of an ultimately fruitless search for a winning try.

The Springboks did get by with more than a little luck, admittedly. But, afterwards, they were the first ones to admit it.

However, what should be admired is the absolutely staggering number of tackles the Springboks made, especially in the final stages of the game. On top of that the composure, resolve and ferocity of a side that had been completely written off before kick-off.

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