It would have been enough to have the heads of legendary locks Colin Meads, Willie-John McBride, Ian Jones and even the multi-talented John Eales positively spinning.
All Blacks second-rower Sam Whitelock is renowned for his lineout dominance and tough, industrious play at the breakdown and in the loose. But his name was up in lights during the Crusaders’ 58-17 drubbing of the Reds last Friday night for scoring one of the greatest individual tries ever seen by a member of the tight-five in top-level Rugby Union history.
It also surely rates among the best individual five-pointers ever produced in the Super XV’s 20-season narrative.
Where it ranks in the pantheon of all-time tries is purely subjective, but there is no question Whitelock conjured one of the 2015’s genuine highlights.
Receiving an inside-ball from a standing start midway through the second half, the 2.03m (6 foot, 8 inches) Whitelock beat six would-be Reds defenders with an extraordinary combination of pace, power, footwork and fend in an unforgettable 60-metre charge to the try-line.
As if New Zealand’s World Cup opponents didn’t have enough worry about with the long-range tryscoring ability of Julian Savea, Ben Smith et al – now the 62-Test veteran Whitelock has emerged as a threat from anywhere on the paddock.