Kiwi Randall rates Ellis Park clash ‘the match of the year’

2013-12-05 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — The All Blacks’ 38-27 victory against the Springboks in this year’s Rugby Championship at Ellis Park was the best Test match of the year.

That is how former New Zealand captain Taine Randall views the October 5 game that the All Blacks won to clinch the Rugby Championship. He praised both the All Blacks and South Africa in his weekly column on New Zealand remained unbeaten this year and the Boks only suffered two defeats — both against the All Blacks.

“The Johannesburg Test, which we won by 38-27 against South Africa, is the one that towers above the rest. It exceeded all expectations and will be remembered as one of rugby’s classic duels. It was a very strong Springbok team, whose only two losses came against the All Blacks. To have beaten them was fantastic,” wrote Randall.

The former Kiwi loose forward did not hesitate to praise his country’s players but also reserved some compliments for the Springboks. “Measured against the All Blacks no team continuously performs well. New Zealand consistently deliver good performances against teams which lift their own level of play and are motivated when they have to play against the number one team in the world.

“The Springboks remain the thorn in our flesh. We see that England has found some rhythm and Australia — under Ewen McKenzie — are showing some promise. He presented them with a two-year plan and it seems as if they are moving in the right direction,” Randall added.

He concluded by praising All Blacks’ Kieran Read, even before the announcement that he has been named as the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) Player of the Year. “It would be a shock if Kieran Read is not named as the IRB’s Player of the Year. He was the best player in the best team. First it was Richie McCaw, followed by Dan Carter and now Read.

“He has contributed on many levels with distinction. He has given a timeless flair to the number eight jersey, a position where the All Blacks have struggled a bit over the past few years,” said Randall.

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