Springboks stun All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington thriller
South Africa beat New Zealand 36-34 in a 10-try thriller at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington for their first win at the ground since 1998.
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa beat New Zealand 36-34 in a 10-try thriller at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington for their first win at the ground since 1998.
The Springboks were looking for their first victory against the All Blacks since 2014 and their first in New Zealand in nine years, but they didn't get off to the greatest start.
The All Blacks were at their irresistible best early on in the half as they outfoxed a pragmatic Springbok defence to score two early tries. The first came from Jordie Barrett who received a lovely pop pass from his older brother Beauden who picked up a low pass to assist his brother in his first Test against South Africa in the fourth minute of the game.
The world champions were back at it again, this time scrumhalf Aaron Smith went over the whitewash after a brilliant break by his namesake, Ben Smith down the right wing and things were looking ominous for the Boks.
But Rassie Erasmus's men were not going to roll over and play dead and staged a brilliant come back. First, some lovely hands down the right-hand touchline saw Aphiwe Dyantyi run around to score his fifth Test try, then a rare All Black mistake as they attempted a quick lineout gave Willie le Roux an opportunity to score unopposed under the poles to give the visiting South Africans the lead for the first time.
There was nothing fortuitous about the third Bok try. A strong South African strength reared its head as the Boks scored from a well structured rolling maul which Malcolm Marx was the beneficiary. The All Blacks hit back just before half-time through a 17th Test try from Rieko Ioane on his return from injury, before Handre Pollard slotted over a penalty to give South Africa a 24-17 lead.
The second half could not have started off in a better note for the Springboks, as Cheslin Kolbe Intercepted a pass from the All Blacks to dash away for his first Test try in only his second appearance in the green and gold to extend the lead to 31-17. Ioane then got his double of the night to keep the All Blacks in the game but Dyantyi was not to be outdone by Ioane as he too dotted down to keep the home side at bay.
Codie Taylor then scored the first of two rolling maul tries for the All Blacks to make things interesting and the home side grew in confidence, putting enormous pressure on the Boks which finally told as le Roux was sent to the sin bin for an offence which gave Ardie Savea a try off a rolling maul but crucially Barrett missed the conversion.
The Boks were able to hang on for victory in Wellington and keep their rugby championship hopes alive.
(Edited by Refilwe Thobega)