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Barrett praised for clutch kick: 'He'll be the guy that won the hundredth'

By Finn Morton

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Fullback Jordie Barrett was the hero for the All Blacks on Saturday night in Townsville, converting a difficult penalty late which saw his side earn a hard-fought 19-17 win in the historic 100th test against South Africa.

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The All Blacks raced out to an early 7-0 advantage three minutes in through a Will Jordan run-away try, but that ended up being the biggest lead of the night for either side. The Springboks responded with five points of their own shortly after with S’busiso Nkosi pouncing on a George Bridge mistake.

The two rivals traded penalties and the lead six times before Barrett got his chance to etch his name in the history books.

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Just as the world champions were looking as if they might close the match out, replacement midfielder Quinn Tupaea was first over the ball at the breakdown, and secured a crucial penalty for the men in black.

40 metres back and just over five metres in from the left sideline, Barrett got his chance and took it with the ball sneaking inside the left upright.

Barrett spoke with Stan Sports’ Greg Clarke after the match about the confidence he had in wanting to be the player to step up and win the match for his side.

“Particularly in an All Blacks jersey. These are the test matches you want to be part of,” Barrett said after the 19-17 win. “I was hoping to get an opportunity late in the game, it’s kind of inevitable with that scoreline.

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“Just grateful that Quinn got over the ball and gave me the chance.”

The All Blacks came into this match as not only the newly ranked number one team in the world, but also the favourites after impressive displays against Australia and Argentina. Meanwhile, the Springboks were looking to record their first win Down Under, after going down in back-to-back tests against the Wallabies.

But poor discipline was arguably the All Blacks’ biggest issue against the reigning world champions, with knock-ons in key moments particularly uncharacteristic.

“We coughed the ball up a lot off our set-piece and first or second phase,” Barrett said.

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“We knew that’s not our deal against South Africa, you’ve got to break them down 10-plus phases and we played into their hands, we couldn’t hold onto the ball.

“It’s a lucky escape to be honest but test matches against South Africa, you get a win, so stoked.”

All Blacks coach Ian Foster, who recently re-signed with New Zealand rugby through to the next World Cup, was full of praise for Barrett’s efforts off the tee.

Foster commented on the history of the 24-year-old being “the guy that won the hundredth”, but was also full of praise for Springboks flyhalf Handre Pollard who was impressive off the tee as well.

“Hats off to Jordie for that last kick, it was a tough kick,” Foster said following the 19-17 win.

“Our bench came on really well. I thought Quinn did outstandingly well to win that turnover and Jordie kick under pressure … he’ll be the guy that won the hundredth, so good on him.

“Both goal kickers kicked well, didn’t they? So there was pressure on and at the end of the day, that won it at the end, it was the key difference. It was a big kick and he nailed it.”

Saturday night was the first time that these two sides had met since 2019 at the Rugby World Cup, where the All Blacks defeated the Springboks 23-13 in Yokohama. But the Springboks would of course go on to claim their third World Cup crown in Japan, and their first since the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

But going into that test in 2019, the Springboks had proven themselves to be tough competition for the All Blacks.

Since their 57-0 loss at North Harbour Stadium in 2017, the Springboks lost two thrillers, ended the All Blacks’ dominance on home soil with a 36-34 win in Wellington, and earned another draw in New Zealand’s capital, all before their Rugby World Cup clash.

But it goes without saying that the rivalry between these two great rugby nations stretches back a lot longer than a few years.

“We spoke early in the week, we didn’t want to shy away – we knew it was a big game. There was a whole lot of reasons why it was big,” Foster said.

“The hundredth and the history of this competition between us. They’re a team that we respect greatly and we’ve had a bit of the edge over them recently but you saw how fine the margins are.”

The win saw the All Blacks officially claim this year’s Rugby Championship crown, and they’ll also keep hold of the Freedom Cup for at least another year.

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Barrett praised for clutch kick: 'He'll be the guy that won the hundredth'

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