AUCKLAND - Blood was spilled, an all-in brawl erupted and both teams had players sent from the field yet New Zealand's 29-15 Rugby Championship victory over traditional rivals South Africa was based around a simple principle.
Fight fire with fire, then smoke them on the outside.
The All Blacks win at Eden Park on Saturday was blighted by a controversial red card to abrasive Springboks hooker Bismarck du Plessis after he had been given two yellow cards.
The first card for a tackle on New Zealand flyhalf Daniel Carter that has ruled the pivot out for six weeks with a shoulder injury was considered by many to have been unjustly awarded by referee Romain Poite.
The second, for an elbow into the throat of Liam Messam was considered to be deserved, and du Plessis should have known he was treading a thin line after his earlier time in the sinbin, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said on Sunday.
"Bismarck will be disappointed, the first one was probably not a yellow but he knew he had already been yellow carded and what he did the second time was dumb," Hansen said. "You can't elbow someone in the throat."
Du Plessis' all-out aggressive attitude typified the nature of the game. No quarter was asked, or given, and both sides flung themselves into their opponents with zealous intensity.
It was an area the Springboks, because of their size, physicality and the relative inexperience of All Blacks openside flanker Sam Cane and hooker Dane Coles, were thought to hold an advantage.