Sean Fitzpatrick: Brad was a real Thorn in Springboks' side

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I couldn't be happier with that win over the Springboks last night in such difficult conditions and I don't mind admitting I had some doubts before the match.

I couldn't argue with selection - that was the All Black team I would have picked had I been the chief selector and that highlights the depth issue we have discussed before. I was worried about whether several individuals would step up in the heightened intensity and pressure of a test against the Boks.

But they did and I have to congratulate players like Brad Thorn, Jerome Kaino, Ma'a Nonu and Adam Thomson on how they handled themselves at this level. In the tough conditions and the enormous intensity and pace of that match, I thought they all did very well.

Thorn would probably be the pick of them. I wondered if he'd struggle in this match but I think the conditions suited him. He brought probably the most physical approach to a very physical game and he rocked the Boks back on their heels a bit.

They also beat the Boks without Richie McCaw and that will give them huge confidence in each other.

Kaino was another who put himself about and ran well and, really, my only concern was with Andy Ellis at halfback.

He had a bit of a wobbly first half; he tended to run before he passed but he came right in the second half and performed a lot better.

The other thing to note was that the Boks didn't play badly. They did pretty well but they were just outdone in the contact areas and in the back row - which was where they were supposed to dominate.

The exception to that rule was Schalk Burger who I thought was outstanding. But Rodney So'oialo, Kaino and Thomson did better overall on the night. So'oialo led well and was effective in all phases.

I thought the new coach Peter de Villiers was exposed in his selections a bit. Francois Steyn should have started at either 10 or 12 as he made a difference when he came on and gave them more options. Butch James is a much better player than he was but he did not have a good game by his own standards.

The All Blacks were accurate and very intense in that first half and I wondered if they could sustain it in the second - but they did. Tony Woodcock played well; Dan Carter stepped up again and Nonu played with discipline and in a manner we all doubted he could.

Even Sione Lauaki did well when he came on and I thought he added a new dimension.

It was great stuff and a good win - now all we need to see is the same team play again next week.

- Herald on Sunday

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