Breaking down the winners and losers from the All Blacks' dominant display in the Rugby Championship.
Given the Wallabies were woeful in two previous meetings and given the All Blacks had already locked away the Bledisloe Cup for another year, that final test against Australia appeared superfluous in the extreme. But now, with a world record on the line, it shapes as one of the most meaningful matches of the international season. Sure, it's a foregone conclusion, considering the combination of opposition and venue, but still. World record, people.
After being handedastart at blindside in Buenos Aires, pipping Highlanders teammate Elliot Dixon in what must have been a close call, Squire has in the last week firmly established himself as the next All Black No 6. The 25-year-old was superb in his cameo off the bench in Durban, needing only 18 minutes to record 65 running metres, beat three defenders, score one try and set up another.
Suddenly Ardie Savea isn't the only impact loose forward option.
The most dominant performance in Rugby Championship history- the All Blacks earning six bonus point victories from six - also coincided with the most dreary Rugby Championship in history. It's probably a bad thing when three of the four teams finished with a negative points differential, and when the winner (38) scored more tries than the rest of the pack combined (32). Really, only Argentina, who finished last, also emerged with a sliver of credit.
When Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu walked away after lifting the Rugby World Cup and Sonny Bill Williams opted to chase Olympic gold, Fekitoa must have felt like the real winner. But, just as quickly as a starting midfield berth opened, the door seems to have slammed firmly shut. The solidity of Ryan Crotty and the spectacularintroduction of Anton Lienert-Brown has Fekitoa on the outside looking in, and that's before even factoring in Williams' return.