JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's 46-40 Tri-Nations rugby test win over the All Blacks was one of their greatest ever feats, the Sunday Times reported in Johannesburg yesterday.

Under the heading "Blood and guts Boks back with vengeance," the newspaper said the victory was built "on the old-fashioned tenets of unremitting forward play, a blood-and-guts defence and a high retention count".

"This was old Bok rugby with a bit of the new mixed in," the paper said.

The result could have saved Springbok Nick Mallett his job. ,

"In a match that could have been pulled from the theatre of bizarre, Mallett's maligned Springboks first toyed with the All Blacks then threatened to give the match away before holding on to snatch a 10-try thriller that ranks with their greatest feats ever.

"Amid the febrile atmosphere, the Boks responded magnificently to end a four-match losing streak by scoring more points against New Zealand than any other team has.

"They knocked the All Blacks over with big tackles and cleaned them out, they defended nearly perfectly and they cleared the rucks with the touch of a scalpel. And they scored half-a-dozen tries after having been unable to manage one in 218 minutes previously."