In these big games, you always try to boil it down to where it went wrong for both teams in certain instances.

No doubt there was a bit of conjecture around the All Blacks' first try. The officials took a long time to decide Ryan Crotty had scored.

Then we had Damian de Allende's red card. I understand we need to protect players from contact to the head. There have been too many head assessment injuries this year.
However, we've still got to respect that the game is a contact sport. And when you make big decisions, you've got to make sure you get them right.

I don't think it was clear and obvious that there was major contact with Lima Sopoaga's head. He didn't grab at his face or head. You've got to wonder how the officials come up with a red card for that.


I can understand a penalty for the late charge - nobody is debating that. And you can maybe understand, if you were incredibly politically correct, a yellow card. But for the officials to go for a red? Come on, we can't continue to get these decisions that far wrong because that's not fair.

Ultimately, South Africa came home strongly and were pushing hard to win this test but, because of that decision, had to try to do it with 14 men. To me, that seems unfair.

We've seen poor officiating cost teams too many times. I'd be saying these same things if it was an All Blacks player. It's not anything to do with what colour jersey you've got on, it's about the officials getting it right. We should feel some sympathy for South Africa because they were hard done by with that decision. It didn't mean they were going to win the test by any means. But it means another decision, like we saw in the third test against the Lions, had a massive influence on the finish of a game and we're all scratching our heads as to why the officials are getting it wrong.

This test at Newlands was forever in the balance. Two teams went so hard at each other. Even after the first half when it was a low score (8-3), that didn't take away from the physicality and some of the end-to-end action and yet they still had the desire, rather than kick the ball out, to keep going for another 10 minutes. That was testament to what a good match this was.

These two rugby nations needed to do something to reinforce their historic rivalry. As I wandered out of Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, there wasn't a person who said they didn't enjoy what they witnessed.

Yes, from a South African perspective they will be disappointed. Yes, they will rue opportunities and moments where they could have got a different result. But unlike three weeks ago in Albany, there are no heads down.

The Springboks had to adjust at halftime and not give the All Blacks so much ball with inaccurate kicking, and they did that.

There were some outstanding individual performances on both sides of this contest. I probably haven't seen a performance from a hooker like Malcolm Marx produced. It was outstanding. He deserved to be man of the match - he didn't get that accolade. But the guy that did, Damian McKenzie, you can't say had a poor game. He kept the game alight.

Where do the All Blacks go from here? I think they're still seeking that next level but you have to be proud of the way they stuck to a contest they could've let slip. They had to make some adjustments to their backline and inject the likes of Lima Sopoaga, who hasn't had a lot of recent game-time.

The performance of Patrick Tuipulotu coming off the bench and others, Matt Todd and what he brought, the All Blacks will be happy with everything they got out of this game. They're sitting in a very good place to launch themselves into Suncorp Stadium, the third Bledisloe Cup, and on to that northern tour which presents a whole new set of challenges.

There's been a lot of debate about the status of the game globally and where it is heading. Rugby may be losing its interest in some circles but the All Blacks remain the obvious exception. Their last three tests have sold out and tickets to Newlands were snapped up in one hour.

There's no doubt the All Blacks are the biggest ticket in the rugby world. They are the biggest show in town. They command the highest viewership and respect in the game. When you see the crowd, entertainment and atmosphere they can produce just by turning up, it just reinforces they make our game as good as it can be.