Springboks edge All Blacks in one of the BIGGEST tests

Springboks edge All Blacks in one of the BIGGEST tests

South Africa inflicted New Zealand’s first Rugby Championship defeat, with a penalty from Elton Jantjies after time expired, securing a thrilling 31-29 win in an instant classic.

A week after being criticized for failing to live up to the hype in their 100th Test match, the All Blacks and Springboks played one of the biggest games in their illustrious rivalry to close out the Rugby Championship with a bang.

The All Blacks seemed poised to run away with the game late in the first half, but the Springboks put their signature clamps on the game and slowly worked their way forward – before a dramatic finish changed hands four times in the last five minutes alone.

Handre Pollard was the first to score points, but his penalty – from an admittedly awkward position – fell far to the right.

But the Springboks would reach the scoreboard first — and in an unusually flashy way.

The All Blacks won the turnover on their half of the ground and wanted to spread the ball, but due to a miscommunication on a wide, they had to cough it up.

South Africa went on the attack and it was a nasty pass behind Lukhanyo Am that put them on the wing. Sbu Nkosi received the ball, before passing it to Damian de Allende – who advanced to finish a great opening attempt.

Pollard, who had missed two kicks, eventually took a penalty to give the Boks 8-3, but their five point lead was immediately wiped out by some All Black brilliant.

Beauden Barrett surprised the Springboks with a perfect chip kick on a free Sevu Reece on the sidelines. He dodged a defender and managed to ground the ball just off the sideline to even the scores – after a long TMO check to confirm.

Pollard briefly gave the Springboks an 11-8 lead, but then it was New Zealand’s turn to remind us why they are the number one team in the world.

A great break-up in the middle of the field allowed several All Blacks to keep their feet and fire a difficult pass under tremendous tackling pressure – with Ardie Savea the man lucky enough to finish the play-off with a try .

Anton Lienert-Brown again came painfully close to the cross in the corner thanks to an incredible pass to the sideline from Beauden Barrett. He was tackled, but the Springboks threw their lineout close to goal and Brad Weber was able to strike for another try.

South Africa bent down and threatened to break, but managed to bolster their game as the half drew to a close and got one point back with a penalty to leave 20-14 at halftime.

Jacques Nienaber’s side came much calmer in the second half and were able to regain play on their own terms after the first 40 played in the All Blacks’ flashy fashion.

A fourth three-pointer on Pollard reduced the deficit to 20-17 and shortly afterwards a large area advantage was gained thanks to a 50-22 by Frans Steyn.

The Boks were patient with the ball from the lineout and did well to spread it around the field after their maul was nearly forced out. Faf de Klerk was heavily involved and was crucial in the set-up that eventually saw Makazole cross Mapimpi and steal the lead.

Elton Jantjies added a penalty a few minutes later to extend the lead to five points.

It was an unrecognizable second half compared to the first. South Africa had boxed in New Zealand close to their try line, dominating possession and applying pressure to the point where the normally cool and calm All Black operators made mistakes.

Indeed, when New Zealand finally had a lineout five yards from the Bokke line, a bad throw was picked by Steven Kitshoff.

Shortly thereafter, however, controversy would reign. First, Steyn was penalized for running into Jordie Barrett after a kick – but Andrew Mehrtens in Stan Sport was furious at the decision – which the umpires blame, in his opinion, for lack of common sense.

Barrett nailed the penalty to narrow the margin to two, but another controversial decision would follow shortly after, when De Allende was penalized for a deliberate knock on what appeared to be a reasonable attempt at interception.

As if the match needed anything more after that, fists started to fly as both sides began to burst under the pressure, with Malcolm Marx and Eben Etzebeth both being pushed off the ground in blood after a head-on collision.

Barrett kicked a penalty goal amid the chaos to regain the lead, but Jantjies kicked a ripping drop goal just after the restart to put South Africa ahead again.

There was still plenty of drama to be had as the All Blacks were awarded another penalty from the next restart – and Jordie Barrett snuck the difficult kick into the right post with less than two minutes to go.

At the next restart, disaster struck for the Springboks, as their short kick-off failed to cover the required ten meters. The All Blacks won the ensuing scrum to capture the finish, but Duane Vermeulen was able to cash in on the turnover and take a crucial penalty.

Interestingly, South Africa chose not to get a match-winning kick and instead sent the ball to the other side of the pitch as the clock ticked past 80 minutes. They worked the ball into the center of the field from the maul and then won the deciding penalty for the sticks after the All Blacks were offside.

Jantjies stepped up, kicked the decisive goal and closed out one of the greatest exhibition games rugby has ever seen.

full time

South Africa – 31
New Zealand – 29

tries

springbok: De Allende (5 ), Mapimpi (51)
All blacks: Reece (12 ), Savea (27 ), Weber (32 )

Conversion Goals

springbok: Knot 0/2
All blacks: J. Barrett 1/3 (28′)

Penalties

springbok: Pollard 4/5 (11 , 23 , 41 , 44 ), Jantjies 2/2 (57 , 81)
All blacks: J. Barrett 3/3 (9′, 75′, 78′)

Drop targets

springbok: Jantjies (76 €)
All blacks:

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