All Blacks thank Mo'unga but heap praise on Boks flyer Kolbe

YOKOHAMA, Japan -- It was the standout moment from a gripping Test match, a tackle All Blacks coach Steve Hansen later described as a "match-winner".

But Richie Mo'unga's sensational scrambling effort still took nothing away from what was an electric performance from Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe, after the diminutive South African lit up a glorious Yokohama evening with the kind of dazzling footwork few other players in world rugby possess.

When he broke clear down the right touchline five minutes into the second half of the Springboks 23-13 loss to the All Blacks, turning Mo'unga inside out, twice, it looked for all money like Kolbe would make it to the corner. But the New Zealand No. 10, who is blessed with brilliant speed of his own, was able to recover and haul Kolbe into touch just as the winger thrust the ball back inside.

Completing a crazy sequence that had the 63,649-strong crowd on the edge of their individual seats, All Blacks star and Man of the Match Beauden Barrett then took off on a counterattack from behind his own goal-line to almost set New Zealand streaking away in the other direction.

"He [Mo'unga] showed a good pair of wheels," Kolbe told later told reporters. "I think I could have gone a bit quicker to his outside and backed myself. I'll just make sure that whenever there's another opportunity like that I'll capitalise."

It was a harsh personal assessment of what was otherwise a brilliant run, which Kolbe later added to as he gave an increasingly-fractured All Blacks defensive line all kinds of headaches. He also picked up a terrible pass up from his ankles to ensure another Springboks breakout wouldn't come to a crashing halt.

Kolbe would finish with a match-high 128 metres from nine runs with three clean breaks and having left no less than 11 defenders clutching at thin air.

But not even the brilliance of Kolbe could get the Springboks over the line in Yokohama, as late penalties to Mo'unga and Barrett ensured the All Blacks got the start they were after in what was one of the great pool clashes in World Cup history.

Kolbe had certainly left his mark on the All Blacks, though.

"He's a beast, he's a pocket-rocket, Cheslin," New Zealand back-rower Ardie Savea, who shared a nice moment with the Springboks winger at fulltime, said.

"He's so hard to tackle and he's probably the smallest guy on the field, he's just so hard to tackle and that just a testament to himself and his qualities; he was tough to handle out there."

Kolbe certainly proved a difficult assignment for opposite George Bridge, who scored New Zealand's first try, particularly given the All Blacks winger was playing just his sixth Test and first at a World Cup.

"Yeah, old Cheslin, he was pretty hard to bring down," Bridge said. "But I think in that second half, they had plenty of opportunities to score some points and our scramble [defence] was really, really good.

"I think that was probably the area of the game that was the difference but he was definitely igniting a fair bit of their attack, so yeah it was tough [marking Kolbe]."

Bridge also had special praise for teammate Mo'unga whose tackle had denied Kolbe what would have been a famous World Cup try.

"We've seen in Super Rugby and for the All Blacks, him stepping up in these big occasions; I've spent a bit of time playing outside of Richie and it's always a pleasure. He's a special player to be outside and it's pretty cool to watch him come up with those big plays."