Randell finds redemption
July 16, 2000

Taine Randell, close to being the most maligned person in New Zealand last year, found redemption with a creative pass to set up the match-winning try in last night's extraordinary Bledisloe Cup rugby match.

The All Blacks won the 10-try cliffhanger when Jonah Lomu picked up Randell's overhead basketball pass to run 22m down the touchline and give his side a 39-35 win.
Randell, who endured one of the most disheartening reigns as All Blacks captain in 1998-99, was axed as team leader following New Zealand's World Cup humbling at the hands of France in the semi-finals last year.

While the captaincy went to Todd Blackadder, he was retained as a player and last night returned to the blindside flank position where he had excelled before being forced to play No.8 for the All Blacks under former coach John Hart.

He responded with one of his best games in a black jumper, produced consistently powerful defence, made several line breaks out wide and capped it by leading the charge for victory in the dying minutes. He was almost probably a more deserving man of the match than halfback Justin Marshall who was announced by Channel Seven.

With New Zealand down 35-34 Randell bobbed up in the centres to almost set up winger Tana Umaga for a try before later entering the fray in the same position on the left where he drew two defenders and squeezed out a two-handed, pass over his tacklers to the unstoppable Lomu.

Asked for his thoughts on the match-winning pass, Randell said he remembered little.

"I knew I wasn't going to get there (the tryline) myself and I remember seeing Jonah out there." Randell said. "I threw the pass and just hoped like hell it wasn't forward.

"When Jonah caught I yelled: `Go you bloody big thing'."

Lomu obliged, albeit perilously close to the touchline, to deservedly seal victory after a powerhouse display.

Brought to you by AAP

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