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Beauden Barrett's epic response after being steamrolled by Springbok captain Jean de Villiers

By Sam Smith
(Source/Sky Sport NZ)

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The final round clash of the 2013 Rugby Championship between the Springboks and the All Blacks at Ellis Park will forever be remembered as one of the greatest test matches, and was called ‘the game of 2013’ at the time.

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The All Blacks were five wins from five matches with 23 competition points but the Rugby Championship title had not been secured. They needed a sole competition point to capture their second straight Championship title.

The Springboks with four wins from five and were in with a shot if they could manage a bonus point win and prevent the All Blacks from scoring four tries or a losing bonus point.

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The All Blacks finished 38-27 winners in an epic back-and-forth encounter that saw two incredible tries to wing Bryan Habana in the first half, but the story of the match belonged to a young Beauden Barrett.

Playing in just his 13th test match, the reserve All Black flyhalf came on for Aaron Cruden early in the second half after 48th minutes with the Springboks leading 22-21.

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers turned Barrett into a ‘speedbump’ in the 57th minute as the midfielder brutally ran over the top of the young No 10, before also breaking through the grasp of Ma’a Nonu to score an incredible try.

De Villiers try, the Boks’ fourth of the game, gave the Springboks a 27-24 lead which kept their slim Rugby Championship hopes alive with the four-try bonus point secured.

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However, Barrett’s revenge didn’t take long as the ‘golden boy’ came up with one of his signature career moments.

The fleet-footed speedster put De Villiers on ice skates, side-stepping him before fending through the cover tackle of Morne Steyn. Once he was into the backfield, he burned past the cover defence of fullback Zane Kirchner to score under the posts.

Barrett’s solo try gave the All Blacks the all-important four-try bonus point to secure the Rugby Championship title.

Barrett’s impressive cameo didn’t end there however, as he then came up with one of the best try-saving tackles on Willie le Roux with less than four minutes remaining.

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The Springbok right wing took an intercept with the All Blacks deep on attack and a long foot race ensued.

It did not seem like Barrett would hunt Le Roux down, but a perfectly timed ankle tap forced Le Roux to put a toe on the sideline and void the try.

Le Roux’s try would have given the Springboks a chance in the final minutes to win the game, but the ‘no try’ left too much work to do to chase down the All Blacks 38-27 lead.

“We had to dig really deep. There was a hell of a lot of running, add the yellow cards and all the travel. It’s very satisfying,” McCaw said after the game.

Springboks head coach Heyneke Meyer put the blame on his side’s defence which cost South Africa a big victory at home.

“They didn’t score from our mistakes as usual, they scored from poor defence. The boys are shattered. We really wanted to win this,” said Meyer.

“We had to be really accurate defensively and we weren’t. The defining moment was the missed Kieran Read tackle towards the end.”

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