All Blacks v South Africa: Captain Sam Cane, coach Ian Foster’s faith rewarded in victory over Springboks

The victory was vindication for Foster in particular, who suggested throughout the week that performance like this was coming from the All Blacks.

And for Cane, who scored the opening try to go with 11 tackles, the pride in his side’s showing was evident.

“It means a lot,” Cane said. “I’m immensely proud of the group through this last wee while, which has been tough.

“We’ve had to circle the wagons a little bit and focus internally. It’s never been a question about the level of care within the group and the work ethic – that’s right up there.

“But for us to be in a test match like that tonight, under immense pressure, such a hostile crowd in a game that goes back and forth, and has moments, belief and composure has to be strong.

“That’s not always easy when you’re coming off a couple of losses. To be able to produce that speaks highly of the group as a whole.

“On top of that, we’re just stoked we put out a performance to be proud of.”

Aside from giving their coach some breathing room before their next test – Argentina on August 27 – the All Blacks also kept the Freedom Cup, contested against South Africa.

New Zealand have been the stewards of the Freedom Cup since 2009, while the Springboks will have to wait until 2023 for another chance to try and wrestle it back.

And after having to claw back from behind in the final 10 minutes at Ellis Park – with Beauden Barrett yellow-carded – Foster credits the All Blacks struggles over the past weeks for the resolve on display at Johannesburg.

“We’re really proud to have the Freedom Cup, it means a lot to us,” Foster said.