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The Tight Five - what we know after the All Blacks win over the Springboks

New Zealand’s remarkable list of Test captains continues

Who would have thought a few years ago that Richie McCaw would have a fully developed world class captain waiting in the wings? Kieran Read continues a long and proud tradition where the All Blacks have been able to consistently produce some special players to lead their country. There have been over 125 men to wear the armband, and the list, including Gallaher, Whineray, Meads, Lochore, Tremain, Kirk and Fitzpatrick, is a humbling ledger of All Black and rugby greats. Reminisce of some champion loose forwards of yesteryear, the rangy Read possesses some special touches and a deceivingly ferocious appetite for the tough stuff up front. The future appears to be in safe hands.

Welcome Test win number 383

The All Blacks have now won more Test matches than any nation in history, winning their 383rd international at Eden Park in their 505th match. It gives the World Champions a winning percentage of 75.8%, and means they overtake France who held the old record with 382 Test triumphs. However Les Bleus played 695 matches to achieve this mark. The All Blacks also continued to stretch their record in the points and try scoring ledgers – having now scored 1724 tries for an average of three a match while registering 13,242 points, an aggregate of 26 per match.

These All Blacks won’t be bashed into submission

The blueprint was there to be applied by the Springboks, knowing that their physical menace had bludgeoned the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium, while South African victories in the past have been achieved by the men in green outmuscling New Zealand – a method some might suggest is the only real way to beat the All Blacks. Such approaches have yielded results in the past, and the sight of Dan Carter and Israel Dagg leaving the field, not to mention a constantly bloodied Sam Cane, could have suggested that the World Champions were coming out second best. But nothing could be further from the truth from a black clad pack that not only stood up to the assault, but returned serve on more than one occasion. Only once have the All Blacks looked physically outclassed under Steve Hansen, and it looks like the lessons of Twickenham last year have been well applied.

Remarkable dominance of tournament continues

The All Blacks set a new Tri-Nations/The Rugby Championship record of nine straight victories and will be looking to extend that as they head to La Plata in a fortnight for a clash with the Pumas. While the Springboks rematch is already on people’s lips, the reigning champions placed one hand on the trophy with their Eden Park win on Saturday. The All Blacks won 50 of their 72 Tests in the Tri-Nations (compared with 29 for Australia and 28 for South Africa) and are a perfect nine-from-nine since the new format began in 2012. If they are successful this year they could claim their 12th title overall – double what the Springboks and Wallabies have won combined.

First five-eighth is now a position of strength for New Zealand

The spectre and ensuring nightmare of losing Dan Carter has now been firmly put to bed, with Beauden Barrett easily playing his best match in All Blacks colours against a Springboks team that had little answer to the diminutive Hurricanes playmaker. Carter’s first 15 minutes showed he is far from a spent force, kicking the ball as if it was on a strategic string, but he will emerge from his sabbatical next season with a massive dogfight on his hands. Aaron Cruden is likely to return against Argentina, Tom Taylor will probably play a further part in the tournament, while at this stage there is no place for Colin Slade. With the ITM Cup also showing some talented number tens, the production line is humming with frightening efficiency.

Photo: photosport.co.nz
Source: allblacks.com