Media: praise for Malakai Fekitoa despite All Blacks defeat

The New Zealand Herald Sport has hailed Malakai Fekitoa, 22, as the best player in the All Blacks despite losing to Springboks Sunday 5.

“The big winner in the All Blacks’ overseas stint of the Rugby Championship was Malakai Fekitoa,” writes Gregor Paul, a rugby writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Fekitoa was again exceptional in the No12 shirt against the Boks and continues to surprise, Paul added.

This was not the first time the paper praised Fekitoa for his outstanding performance.

After All Blacks beat England 20-15 at Eden Park in June the Herald Sport said Fekitoa was “among the best” players to “beat a very good England team”.

It described Fekitoa as “a player with immense promise” and he was “the most elegant of solutions for Conrad Smith’s back-up”.

Fekitoa scored the first try for All Blacks on Saturday but how he managed to run down Cornal Hendricks after a kick was put over the top and the Boks winger poked it further ahead,  deserved the most praise.

“I was going back to the fall as fast as I could and then I saw the green jersey go past me and I thought I was never going to get him,” says Fekitoa. “I was lucky and I was able to manage to grab the ball and got over the line. It was lucky,” he told Herald.

“It was tough. The lungs were burning and I thought I wouldn’t make it to halftime. I was struggling a bit but I managed to get through it.”

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