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

Wayne Smith takes on defence for All Blacks coaching return Ma'a Nonu heading for France after Rugby World Cup Wayne Smith set for return to All Blacks for World Cup defence Brodie Retallick the All Blacks' driving force in 2014 Rugby-free holiday for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Awe and envy in Europe over Dan Carter's lucrative contract with Racing Metro Post-World Cup exodus of All Blacks stars doesn’t concern NZRU boss Steve Tew All Black star Dan Carter won't fade lightly into the night Knowler: Dan Carter deal a gamble for Racing Metro Money the big factor in Dan Carter's move to Racing Metro

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