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New Zealand’s Kieran Read is delighted to have come through an ‘epic’ encounter and help his side retain the Rugby Championship after a thrilling game against South Africa.
The number eight was named man of the match after the All Blacks ended their poor run at Ellis Park, winning 38-27 to secure the title for a second year running.
South Africa needed to score four tries and prevent New Zealand from scoring a bonus point if they were to take the title home. Bryan Habana crossed over on two occasions to give them some hope but ultimately they did not have enough in the tank to keep the All Blacks under pressure.
The Springboks had no option but to go all-out attack and that made the game tense, especially when skipper Jean De Villiers scored their fourth try with the game still in the balance. In the 61st minute, Beauden Barrett’s score ended the hosts’ hopes for good and Read told Sky Sports after the game he thought it was an entertaining encounter.
He said: “I’m pretty tired, we did a lot of running out there. The Boks kept true to their word and went for the bonus point, it turned into a pretty epic game.
“I don’t think we responded as well as we could. It was tough in that first 20 minutes before we got the second wind. We certainly took in a few big ones early but we came right and got a bit of momentum at the end of the first half.
“It’s a great feeling. These are the medals we look forward to as rugby players and certainly, from my point of view, it was awesome to be a part of it. (The rivalry) brings out the best in both teams I think. It’s one to put down in the ages and look back on pretty fondly.”