The Springboks took the victory, 28-19 at Bloemfontein. As a match, it never reached great heights; pressure from both teams produced frequent mistakes, and the Irish referee with the French name, Alain Rolland ensured that he was the centre of attention, as NH referees are wont to do.
The Springboks deserved their win. They shut the All Blacks out in the second quarter, and when they led 17-3 shortly after half-time, a runaway win seemed to be a possibility. To their credit, the All Blacks came back strongly in the last half-hour, and but for a dropped pass by Jason Eaton on the Bok 22 after a period on attack (leading to a try at the other end), who knows what might have happened.
The experiment of bringing Brendon Leonard in for Jimmy Cowan failed. Leonard looked way off the pace, and the combatitive nature of the match would probably have suited Cowan better. Once the trip to South Africa is over, maybe Leonard should be sent back to the Waikato team to get fit.
We're too tired to do too much detailed analysis this morning, so you'll have to go elsewhere for that. However, the All Blacks will take encouragement from their second-half showing, and will be rueing the late penalty which saw them miss out on a consolation bonus point. They'll be a lot happier down at sea level in Durban next week, and last night's match showed that there is not a lot between these teams. Perhaps the vagaries of the draw give South Africa the advantage in this year's Tri-Nations, but an All Black win next week would turn that on its head.
There's only one certainty - you can read about it and debate the game ad nauseum at Keeping Stock!