Dane Coles has spoken for probably all the All Blacks, their supporters and most rugby fans around the world following Brodie Retallick's dislocated shoulder which will put a question mark over the big lock's involvement in the World Cup which starts in two months.
Hooker Coles, who impressed in the final quarter after replacing Codie Taylor, said he couldn't help but watch as key forward Retallick went down clutching a shoulder after being on the receiving end of a ruck cleanout an hour into the 16-all draw against the Springboks at Westpac Stadium.
"I found myself watching him when he was down," Coles said. "Usually you can get on with things, but watching big Guz… he's one of those guys you want in your team and want to go into battle with. I was gutted for him.
"I don't know what the prognosis is. Hopefully it's best-case scenario. He's a tough man so maybe a needle will help. I speak for probably the whole group – we feel for the big lad because he's a good man and we'll be gutted if we lose him."
There is speculation on social media that if Retallick didn't suffer damage to the joint – and there is a fear that a fracture is involved – then he could be back within about six weeks which will put him in the frame for the All Blacks' first pool game against South Africa on September 21.
But if there is significant joint damage then surgery could be required and Retallick will be facing three to six months on the sideline.
Retallick's injury added another layer of disappointment to an evening which began awkwardly as the Boks put the All Blacks under huge pressure, improved when Jack Goodhue scored to give his side a slim halftime lead, and then dipped significantly again when replacement halfback Herschel Jantjies went over for a converted try in the final seconds to help the Boks to
"It's not great," Coles said. "It feels like a loss. Big moments – it will be an important lesson for us going forward. Big moments can turn a game, draw a game, lose a game, so we have to make sure we nail them. It's frustrating because we thought we were doing all right in that last 20 minutes.
"We had a bit of momentum and put them under pressure – we just couldn't get over the line and score maybe a try to put it out [of reach] but that's test rugby.
"We're All Blacks, we have to be better. We have to keep working hard on our game. There have been a few changes but we have to be way better because we've got a big job coming up in the World Cup."
An All Black relatively satisfied with his performance was first-five Richie Mo'unga, who had only his third start in 10 tests and came out on the right side of the ledger after an uncertain start.
He gradually found his rhythm and with Beauden Barrett as a second playmaker impressing hugely with his pace in the outside channels, the All Blacks created many opportunities in the second half but finished precisely zero.
"I thoroughly enjoyed it," Mo'unga said. "It was a good battle and it had a bit of everything. What a classy outfit they [Boks] are.
"It was good," he said of his combination with Barrett, with whom he was starting for the first time.
"What we came to find is that it's not something that's going to happen overnight. In the first half we were put under pressure and couldn't really get into our structure or play a few phases, but in the second half there were glimpse of what we were trying to create.
"We didn't fire a shot in that first half. It was pretty evident in the second half that once we tried to play with the ball we were able to create opportunities. We didn't finish and that's the frustrating side of it."