The All Blacks have just completed an unbeaten Rugby Championship with a magnificent 32-16 win over South Africa in Soweto. And Richie McCaw has brought up another century.
McCaw became the first All Black to play 100 test matches in the RWC pool match against France last year. This morning in his 112th test, he has become the first player to be on the winning side in 100 test matches.
That is an incredible achievement, indicative of how dominant the All Blacks have been since McCaw made his debut against Ireland in 2002; they have won 89.3% of the time when McCaw has been involved. Few teams or individuals in world sport can match that sort of dominance.
And Richie McCaw is playing some of the best rugby of his life. He spearheaded an All Black defensive effort this morning that was ferocious and almost frightening in its intensity and ruthless in its execution.
The All Blacks had to defend. With referee Alain Rolland of Ireland taking 53 minutes to penalise the South Africans, the All Blacks were living off scraps. But when they did get the ball they were absolutely lethal, running in four long-range tries to Sam Whitelock and Aaron Smith in the first half, to Ma'a Nonu within seconds on the start of the second half and Conrad Smith.
New Zealand was simply too good for South Africa tonight. Even in the Twitterverse the compliments are flowing, from unusual sources; SA rugby writers. Mark Keohane tweeted "U can't argue with that. A rugby lesson. Kudos NZ. World Champs &
currently best team in world. Mighty McCaw 100th Test win in 112.
RESPECT", and Brenden Nel noted "All Blacks are deserved winners of the Rugby Championship. They're at another level. Massive win for them.".
We're not going to single out any individuals apart from Captain Fantastic, because this was a comprehensive team performance. Had Rolland's pedantic refereering allowed the All Blacks anywhere near an even slice of possession, one shudders to think what the score may have been.
The day is off to an early start, but this was a match worth getting up for. New Zealand's road-trip-from-hell has produced maximum points and some magnificent rugby both with ball in hand and on defence. And given the relative youth of many of Steve Hansen's charges, the future is bright. And with Richie McCaw looking ageless, we reckon that Captain Fantastic is going to create a few more records before he's done.