Richie McCaw reminded the world yesterday why he is the most effective flanker in the game. He stifled the game to such an extent that the Springboks ran out of ideas and could not score a point.
He led the defensive line expertly, making a huge number of tackles and thwarting nearly every attack made by South Africa. The two glimpses of scoring opportunities that the Home side did manage were squandered and the All Blacks looked comfortable throughout.
The match was the first stern examination of South African rugby under Peter de Villiers, and given that they seemed regularly bereft of ideas, there may be doubts over the coach’s ability to keep the Springboks at the summit of world rugby.
His appointment was politically correct, but whether he is the best man for the job has been questioned several times.
If McCaw continues in this sort of form, New Zealand will win the Tri-Nations and it will only be a matter of time before they usurp the Springboks to return to the top of the world rankings.
And if Dan Carter starts playing properly again, slotting his kicks and putting his runners in space, the rest of the world will be in trouble.