Saturday, July 05, 2008
It was an intense night in Wellington as the All Blacks put an end to the Springboks 14 match winning streak as they triumphed 19-8 in the Tri Nations opener at a wet and windy Westpac Stadium.
The weather made it hard but not as hard as two physical, determined teams slamming into each other for 80 mins - and then ending with smiles, handshakes and hugs, like heavyweight boxers at the end of a massive bout.
This was a massive bout, a massive scrap and one which the All Blacks deserved to win, especially for their second-half effort - their effort and Dan Carter's skill.
Certainly Carter outkicked all Springboks attempts at kicking. His kicking is so varied - at goal, high, diagonally, chipping, grubbering through. What ever kick is needed he can produce it to perfection.
Both the tries in the match were splendid, worthy of the finest weather on the firmest fields.
Jean De Villiers break down the left wing and perfectly timed pass to supreme finisher Bryan Habana oozed class, both players arguably the hardest working backline Boks on the night.
The All Blacks scored their try early in the second half, with that man Carter once again proving the Boks nemesis as he doubled around beautifully to set up a superbly taken try for Jerome Kaino. The number 8 was unlucky not to have a second try later on as he was adjudged to be ahead of the kicker by referee Stuart Dickonson, when television replays clearly showed that he wasnt.
Perhaps the abiding memory of the game was its physicality - the sheer intensity of tackle after tackle, collision after collision. It was worthy of the 87 years of battles between the two top nations in the world of rugby, and they'll do battle again next week.
With thanks to rugby365