‘Dream come true’ for Narawa in Mendoza
Walking off Mendoza's stadium, new All Blacks wing Emoni Narawa could feel satisfied with his contribution on debut to the side's 41-12 Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship win on Sunday.
After an outstanding Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, Narawa looked comfortable having stepped up to Test rugby, but he admitted he went into the game with nerves. He played roles in two early All Blacks tries and then capped the game by scoring the side's final try.
"It was quite special like a dream come true running out of the tunnel. All those emotions came in at the final whistle, so it was special.
"It's a different level. It's a whole different pace to the game. I was blowing a lot in the first 40 minutes.
"I was quite nervous the whole week, but you've got experienced teammates all around you. They told me all week just to be myself, and enjoy the moment."
Narawa became All Black number 1208 in Mendoza and ended the match with a team high 79 run metres and made 11 tackles, second only to Jordie Barrett in the backs.
Second five-eighths Jordie Barrett said it was pleasing to start well, which had been helped by the good week of training in warm weather in Mendoza.
While having a shaky start, when the first five-eighths Damian McKenzie's kick was charged down, they responded quickly, and that pack responded with a direct approach at the scrum and maul.
"We controlled our set piece, we got scrum penalties and our maul started working and then our big boys started going through them with short passes. Colesy [hooker Dane Coles] scored off one of Scott's [Barret] lines early."
The discipline through the initial stages was vital, and they were not guilty of giving away nine penalties in the first half as they did in their loss in Christchurch last year.
Barrett thought it was a great first Test for Narawa. He trained well all week to be ready and performed well.
"We started well, and it is a great way to start the year. We can't look any further than Saturday. We get in on Monday night, and it is a front-loaded week of recovery but a massive task next week.
"There are some big, fresh-bodied South Africans waiting for us. It's going to be tough in any arena.
"It's a great challenge for us but if you want to be the best you have got to test yourself against the best."
All Blacks v South Africa: Saturday 15 July, 7.05pm NZT, Go Media Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland. Live on Sky Sport NZ