Wellington — The Springboks pulled off a stunning performance characterised by grit and determination to hand the All Blacks their first defeat in the Rugby Championship at home since 2009.
As a result of this scintillating and hard fought 36-34 victory in front of sold out and chilly Westpac Stadium in Wellington that was influenced by a brace of tries by rising star Aphiwe Dyantyi‚ the Boks also registered the most points against the All Blacks at home.
The Boks were good value for their victory as they recovered from 12-0 down after 20 minutes to take a deserved 24-17 lead at half time.
They will look forward to the remaining two matches in the competition against the Wallabies and New Zealand in South Africa with renewed hope.
Not even a yellow card to Willie le Roux in the 68th minute for a deliberate offside could stop the Boks from achieving what so many Test teams‚ bar the British & Irish Lions‚ have failed to do here in nine long years.
Though the Boks were impressive for this bonus-point victory against their bitter rivals in all facets of the game‚ they partly have All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett to thank as he missed four easy conversions that could have proved the difference.
New Zealand opened the scoring after five minutes when Jordie Barrett touched down after he got a pop pass from his brother Beauden following an attacking lineout that caught the South African defence napping.
Beauden Barrett missed the conversion but the All Blacks launched another attack a few minutes later with a move that included Ben Smith and Anton Lienert-Brown but the Springboks managed to defend.
The All Blacks showed intent by countering the Boks and they were duly rewarded with the second try through Aaron Smith after he received a brilliant no-look pop pass from Codie Taylor with Beauden Barret converting after seventeen minutes.
The Springboks roared back into the game after Willie le Roux released the scintillating Dyantyi on the left flank to run all the way and touch down behind the poles leaving Handrè Pollard with a simple conversion.
The Boks took the lead after 25 minutes as Le Roux intercepted Jordie Barrettt’s pass from a lineout to score a try that was converted by Pollard as the visitors took a two-point lead.
It got even better for the Springboks just over the half-hour mark when Malcolm Marx sneaked past the All Black defence to score the South Africans’ third try of the match after a powerful driving maul from a lineout to increase the lead to nine points and silence the Wellington crowd.
Three minutes from the break‚ the All Blacks reduced the deficit to four points through crowd favourite Rieko Ioane but Beauden Barrett missed his second conversion.
The last action of the half was by Pollard who calmly converted a penalty as the Springboks went to the break leading 24-17.
The Boks came back stronger from the break as they further increased their lead to 14 points through substitute Cheslin Kolbe who touched down for his first international try after he came on for Lukhanyo Am.
Ioane registered his second try of the match with Beauden Barrett converting as NZ narrowed the gap to seven points with 30 minutes remaining on the clock. But Dyantyi had other ideas as he scored his second to give South Africa the advantage.
Codie Taylor and Ardie Savea pulled the All Blacks back into the game in the closing stages but Beauden Barrett missed the two conversions as the Boks hung on for dear life for this famous‚ stirring and magnificent victory.