AUCKLAND - Coach Steve Hansen praised his players, the youthful and the experienced, after the All Blacks downed South Africa 29-15 to go top of the Rugby Championship.
The physical and incident-packed clash in Auckland included the dismissal of Springboks hooker Bismarck du Plessis early in the second half after his second yellow card.
The All Blacks themselves finished with 13 men after skipper Kieran Read, who scored two of their tries, and inside centre Ma'a Nonu were sin-binned in the last eight minutes.
"It was a really intense Test match, one that had a bit of everything and I'm very proud of how we came through it," Hansen said.
"In games like tonight, you need your big players to stand up and they did, including the guy beside me ."
But Hansen also highlighted the performances of the younger brigade and the likes of openside flanker Sam Cane, lock Brodie Retallick and replacement five-eighth Beauden Barrett.
Of the yellow cards, Hansen said he had no complaints, adding that referees had to make decisions in the moment.
However, he did feel du Plessis was unlucky to get his first after 15 minutes, even if five-eighth Dan Carter came out of the incident with a shoulder injury.
Hansen said Carter was likely to be out for four-to-six weeks, which would rule him out of the rest of the tournament.
In what looked like a harsh decision, du Plessis was ruled to have made a no-arms and high tackle.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer declined to comment on the officiating, saying his side had no excuses.
"I thought the better team won on the day," he said.
"That's why they're the world champions."