The Springboks silenced critics with a thrilling 31-29 win over the All Blacks on the Gold Coast.
After going to the All Blacks in death last week courtesy of a penalty from Jordie Barrett, this time it was the South Africans who came up when it mattered most as Elton Jantjies pushed the match-winning kick.
The All Blacks looked destined to win tonight when Barrett scored another linkage penalty goal in the 78th minute for a ruck penalty with 10 seconds remaining.
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Tensions, blood overflows in epic Test
With the clock at 80 minutes, Francois Steyn put the ball deep into offensive territory for the Springboks before another costly All Blacks penalty put the result to bed.
Jantjies was not mistaken with the blow from right in front of the sticks.
The win means South Africa regains the number 1 spot in the world rankings.
“You have to take your hat off to the Springboks tonight,” All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens said in commentary for Stan Sport.
“The way they’ve played, turning it around amid immense criticism.”
The Rugby Championship was sealed last week after the All Blacks won the opening game of their back-to-back Tests against the Springboks.
But after three consecutive defeats in the Rugby Championship, two by the Wallabies and one last weekend to New Zealand, the South Africans wanted to end their tour in Australia on a positive note.
South Africa’s Rugby Championship campaign has come under heavy criticism for their kick-happy playing style, which many said lacked excitement.
Most notably, former England coach Sir Clive Woodward destroyed South Africa’s game plan during their two defeats to the Wallabies.
Lukhanyo Am stunning pass sets up a Springboks try
But tonight started off with a magical moment as center Lukhanyo Am put in a stunning pass behind to set up a try.
“Really happy for the boys,” said Springboks scrum half Faf de Klerk.
“It’s been a tough tour for us, we’ve been together for a long time.
“I’m so proud of the guys for sticking there at the end.
“Never stop fighting, that’s what this team is about.”
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The All Blacks led 20-14 at halftime after a half of attacking rugby that contrasted sharply with last weekend’s tactical, kicking match in which the New Zealanders narrowly finished 19-17.
Penalties from Handre Pollard just before and after halftime narrowed the margin to 20-17 before the Springboks fired up front in the 52nd as winger Makazole Mapimpi beat the cover defence, scored into the corner and took advantage of some continued attacking pressure from his team.
Pollard added another penalty to make it 25-20 and Jordie Barrett responded with two goals to make it 26-25 with just over five minutes left.
Jantjies scored a dropped goal to give the Springboks a 28-26 lead in the 77th and Barrett regained the lead in the 79th on another penalty to make it 29-28.
– with AP
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