Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

All Black draws comparisons to legend Jerome Kaino after ‘game for the ages’

By Finn Morton
Shannon Frizell of the All Blacks looks to pass (C) during The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and South Africa Springboks at Mt Smart Stadium on July 15, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Shannon Frizell has been compared to one of the greatest blindside flankers in All Blacks history after his sensational performance against the Springboks in Auckland last weekend.


Some rugby fans may have doubted Frizell’s ability to perform on the biggest stage going into this year’s international campaign. With a World Cup on the horizon, the battle for the No. 6 was going to be fierce.

But the Highlanders forward was given the first opportunity to make that jersey his own.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Coach Ian Foster and the All Blacks selectors named Frizell at blindside against Los Pumas earlier this month, and the 29-year-old took the opportunity with both hands.

After impressing during New Zealand’s dominant win in Mendoza, Frizell was given a potentially career-defining chance to start against world champions South Africa on Saturday.

Frizell was immense. Except for maybe Will Jordan, no player performed better than the flanker that night.

Coming up against a star-studded forward pack which included captain Eben Etzebeth, lock Lood de Jager, and former sevens ace Kwagga Smith, Frizell was a class above.



Of course, it’s hard to look past the flanker’s Lomu-esque try during the first half. Much like the late All Black great back at the ’95 World Cup against England, Frizell ran over a defender with ease.

But that was just one of many highlights that night. Frizell stole the show against the Boks, and has seemingly made that No. 6 jersey his own ahead of a two-Test Bledisloe Cup series with Australia.

“A game for the ages really and I’m sure you’ve had people say this on your station Piney, the best blindside flanker performance I’ve seen since Jerome Kaino in the 2011 World Cup semi-final against Australia,” broadcaster James McOnie said on Weekend Sport with Jason Pine.

“That’s his jersey now, we can safely say it’s gonna take something special to take it off him but I think he deserves that chance now that he’s done it against such esteemed opposition.


“Even when the freaks came on from South Africa… the giants, RG Snyman (who is) six foot nine, Pieter-Steph du Toit – World Player of the Year. Even when they came on, I thought Shannon Frizell stood up.”

After singing Frizell’s praises, McOnie began talking about the selection battle at flyhalf between “all-time great” Richie Mo’unga and Damian McKenzie.

McKenzie impressed in the No. 10 jersey against Argentina, but Mo’unga stepped up against fierce rivals South Africa with potentially his best performance in the black jersey.

“If you look at history, have we done something maybe in the last World Cup when Beauden Barrett had just been named World Player of the Year twice, and was just starting to crack the code as a number 10 – and then we moved him.


“We don’t want to do that again. Richie Mo’unga had just won seven Super Rugby titles in a row, and had just got used to being a Test rugby player, why shift him now?

“Even though you know how much I love Damian, don’t forget you’ve got this absolute gem and all-time great in your midst and you wouldn’t want to waste his talents.”

The All Blacks take on rivals Australia in the first of two Bledisloe Cup Test matches later this month. Following that clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the two teams will meet again a week later in Dunedin.


Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Alfred 362 days ago

I wasn't a fan of Frizell. After his performance vs Argentina and vs the champion pack boks? He deserves the accolades and the 6 Jersey. The man's got momentum, a interesting watch. Mālie Tokoua.

Jacque 363 days ago

No way. After having 1 good game??????

Jon 363 days ago

comparisons to Jonah*

Load More Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

14 Go to comments
TRENDING Ireland coach Andy Farrell: 'I’m jealous of that' Ireland coach Andy Farrell: 'I’m jealous of that'