New Zealand 32
South Africa 12
As a statement of intent, the All Blacks could not have been more emphatic last night.
The horrors of 2009 were laid to rest. The 2010 All Blacks have grown from the seeds of disaster into a multi-dimensional, irresistible force that has the game to sweep all before them. South Africa were popped into the back of the truck, crushed and dumped on the side of the road.
Supposedly with no obvious soft underbelly, the Boks were unsure what had hit them. It was relentless, aggressive, disciplined rugby from the All Blacks, played at a frightening pace and intensity, and the Boks couldn't handle it.
For 40 minutes, they were stunned, almost spectators to a new version of a game they thought they had conquered - believed they owned.
The All Black lineout they destroyed last year was masterfully controlled by Tom Donnelly. The All Black scrum they didn't rate last year, shoved them around, forced them up for air and drained their forwards of confidence.
The Boks, so proud of their physicality at the breakdown, were smashed, smashed and smashed again. The high balls they rained down were all mopped up; those towering kickoffs, all dealt with.
Every time a green jersey moved, a black missile would hit him - Keven Mealamu's driving hit on John Smit late in the game the perfect example of where the All Blacks had it all over their rival; they were hungrier, more focused, driven and tactically astute.
Champions of the world last year with their kick-and-chase rugby, they learned the hard way that the game has moved beyond that.
Morne Steyn, previously infallible, was a scared rabbit, dancing on hot coals as the All Blacks got after him - hurried him out of his rhythm.
Every time he looked up, he had an eye out for Brad Thorn or Jerome Kaino. Those two All Black hard men have had some big nights - this was colossal, though. Thorn buckled anything that got caught in his bull-bars. Kaino wasn't far behind. The Boks couldn't settle.
Kieran Read was inspired, disrupting much and outplaying the vaunted Pierre Spies who looked like a wing trapped in a No 8's body and just not really up for it.
It was Read who nailed the decisive score on 58 minutes when he crashed on to a short pass and dragged most of the Boks over with him. That put the All Blacks 27-9 ahead and broke the resistance. South Africa were threatening to come back into the game after the break, Steyn kicking two penalties and steering things more effectively.
But Read ended it there with a score the All Blacks both deserved and needed to reflect their dominance. The All Blacks, cursed by slow starts in recent years, hadn't hung about and the Boks had never been a show.
Already in third gear, they shifted again after 10 minutes when Bakkies Botha was yellow carded for killing the ball. The South African lock was lucky to still be on after his sly head-butt on Jimmy Cowan was missed by the officials. His temporary absence left the Boks back-peddling at the scrum and short-handed on defence.
The panic set in further for them when their bombing strategy was so effectively nullified. If in doubt, stick it up, has been the Boks' philosophy to date but that backfired when Ricky Januarie was a fraction long with a box kick midway through the first half. Mils Muliaina took it and then was apparently fired out of an invisible cannon as he scorched through the Springboks. He fed Richie McCaw who stalled the defence long enough to leave Conrad Smith free to dive over in the corner.
Five minutes later and Ma'a Nonu danced round the back of a ruck and by sheer willpower forced his way over in the corner to push the All Blacks to 20-3.
With that little cushion, they could never quite feel comfortable but they could begin to think more about opening up the game. The more space they could find, the more they could run the Boks and force them into playing at a tempo they didn't fancy.
The final 20 minutes were too fast for the Boks; the All Blacks just had too much control in all parts of the game and the men in green were barely clinging on to their dignity by the end.
Any doubts about the All Blacks' all-round ability; their desire; their hardness; their passion and their leadership - were set free. All Black rugby stormed back last night.
New Zealand 32 (C. Smith, M. Nonu, K.Read, T. Woodcock tries; D. Carter 3 cons, 2 pens), South Africa 12 (M. Steyn 4 pens).