This was a very physical contest. Wonderful seeing it live. However, it wasn't as physical as the 2011 contest against Samoa! The Tongan test of the same tournament (2007) was almost a street fight, something I fear might happen again in this year's World Cup. The Tongans are far more aggressive and abrasive than the Samoans. The test that most stands out to me for violence is the 2002 England test. The Boks literally beat the English to a pulp. I recall the huge list of Injuries after the game. There were concerns about the health of the players moving forward, and calls for Boks to be banned! That test took over a decade to overcome in terms of damaged reputation and negative perceptions from the refs. The 2009 Lions series was also a very physical set of tests, some violence, but a real arm wrestle. If I think of most intense physical battles, the first two tests of the 2009 Lions series habe to be included.
Back to this test, the Samoans really had us on the ropes. The introduction of Frans helped break the game open. I believe it was Pretorius who took a massive shot to the head by the Chiropractor, who basically knocked himself out of the game (poetic justice). When the game gets away from them, the Polynesians tend to get dirty. This was also the test where JP really found his feet. Lots of things came together. What a special squad it was.
A shout out to the 2011 Samoan side who absolutely smashed the Wallabies. That was a sign of things to come for us! They hit the Wallabies so hard behind the gainline they looked shel l shocked. I could reference the 2003 De Wet Barry show, but that was more a one man show than a generally brutal test. It was the end of Kefu's test career.