Ma'a Nonu, shoeless in Soweto

BY TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 23/08/2010
Ma'a Nonu
Getty Images
HOTFOOTING IT: Ma'a Nonu, minus one boot, makes the break that led to the All Blacks' dramatic last-gasp try in the thrilling win over South Africa.

Relevant offers

All Blacks

'Richie would always look at me like 'nah, nah, nah' when asked to lead AB haka: Piri Weepu Former All Blacks have their say on who will win the British and Irish Lions series The Beauden Barrett show rumbles on as Hurricanes No 10 takes game to new level Is Warren Gatland the right man to lead the British and Irish Lions? New Zealand Maori set to feature All Blacks for match against British and Irish Lions All Black great Sean Fitzpatrick sees major challenge coming from dangerous Lions Wallabies coach Michael Cheika backing All Blacks over Lions, says series could send them to another level Lions coach Warren Gatland believes tough tour schedule can work in their favour All Blacks defeats to Ireland, England part of Lions coach Warren Gatland's motivational fuel Former All Black Nick Evans says quality Lions lineup can push New Zealand

Ma'a Nonu, you shoeless son of a gun.

If there's a moment the All Blacks' season will be remembered for, it may well be their second five-eighth's match-deciding and season-defining line break in Soweto.

But it won't just be because he put substitute Israel Dagg over for the matchwinner, breaking the 22-22 deadlock. It'll also be because Nonu was wearing only one boot.

His other was in the despairing grip of Springbok skipper John Smit, who had missed his bootlace attempt and lay, distraught and staring into Nonu's size 12, on the 10-metre line.

After celebrating with his jubilant team-mates Nonu was seen to inquire something along the lines of "where's my boot?"

It's one of those moments that will go down in sporting folklore, and it also conjured up the story of American baseball player Joe Jackson, of Chicago Black Sox infamy.

"Shoeless Joe" suffered from blisters on his foot from a new pair of cleats, and they hurt so much that he had to take his shoes off before stepping up to bat.

As play continued, a heckling fan noticed Jackson running to third base in his socks, and shouted, "You shoeless son of a gun, you!".

It's unlikely that South Africa's screaming fans were quite so tactful in their descriptions, or whether "One-boot Ma'a" has quite the same ring as the Jackson moniker.

Whatever the case, it was a moment that added to a great All Blacks test that is sure to be written into folklore in the years to come.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content