Eventually, Gardner decided against awarding the Springboks a kickable penalty that allowed England to hold on for a 12-11 victory.
When asked if he had wrapped enough arm around Esterhuizen, Farrell added: "That's what the referee said and that's what is most important".
'It's like everything - when you're selecting a national team, there's a whole lot of good players that don't quite make it.
In what will be their first game in nearly three months, Namibia even have the chance to beat the All Blacks to the new mark, as they play a few hours prior, but the world No 22 should face a fairly stiff task, away to No 19-ranked Russian Federation in Krasnodar.
"Why is it always the most important game?" Because you guys want to sack me, is that why?
"He injured his ankle but beyond that we don't know how long, but for the next three Test matches he'll be unavailable for us - everybody else is available for selection".
"When you get in those arm wrestles, someone's got to give".
New Zealand then started this year with a 3-0 series sweep of France, scoring eight in the first Test in Auckland and seven in the last in Dunedin, and, despite a wobbly showing in Wellington in between, they still managed to cross on four occasions in that one.
"(And) you've got to understand their weaknesses".
England have not played the 2011 and 2015 world champions for four years. We won't be wearing singlets and running shorts out there.
Shields was born in Masterton to English parents and played for Hurricanes before moving to Wasps and tasting Test rugby with England.