Rugby Championship: South Africa end New Zealand's unbeaten streak
Last Updated: 04/10/14 10:34pm
Pat Lambie kicked a penalty from deep inside his own half with two minutes remaining to give South Africa a 27-25 victory over New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
New Zealand had already wrapped up the Rugby Championship title but this was their first defeat in this year's competition and brings to an end the All Blacks' 22-match unbeaten run.
The result also sees the Springboks break a three-year losing streak against the world champions and their first win against the All Blacks at Ellis Park in ten years.
The Springboks led 21-13 at half-time thanks to tries from half-backs Francois Hougaard and two for Handrè Pollard.
Deprived of territory and possession, New Zealand typically converted every chance presented to them and Malakai Fekitoa's try on the half-hour meant they were still in the contest at the interval.
The second half became a much tighter affair as Richie McCaw'a team concentrated on keeping ball in hand and their patience paid off as Ben Smith and Dane Coles both crossed in the final fifteen minutes to take a one-point lead into the dying minutes, before Lambie's late winner.
Kieran Read conceded the first kickable penalty for not rolling away but Pollard missed the target from long range. Beauden Barrett had no such trouble to open the score after eight minutes.
The Boks were first to cross the whitewash, however, with a sensational length-of-the-field try finished off by Hougaard.
The hosts were rewarded for their enterprise as they spread it wide from deep inside their 22. Cornal Hendricks collected Jean De Villiers' chip ahead before offloading to Jan Serfontein, who provided the link for his scrum-half to race home and score under the sticks. Pollard added the easy extras.
The All Blacks had hardly seen the ball as the first quarter drew to a close but Barrett closed the gap to a single point after Marcell Coetzee was penalised for not allowing the ball out of a ruck.
South Africa's second try was as good as the first. Again it started in the hosts' half with Bryan Habana making good ground.
The finish was out of the top drawer as Pollard slalomed his way past three defenders to score and the fly-half's conversion from in front took the scores to 14-6.
In typical fashion, New Zealand struck back as Julian Savea, chasing his own chip ahead, charged down the blindside touchline to open up the Bok defence. Barrett found Fekitoa on a great line and he jinked his way over for a superb try. Barrett's conversion was a formality.
Pollard had the last laugh though, beating his opposite number and twisting through McCaw's tackle to get the ball down on the line. The young fly-half's conversion gave the Boks an eight-point lead at the break.
Conrad Smith's finger tips denied De Villiers a try in a footrace soon after the restart but Pollard extended the hosts' lead from the kicking tee after a deliberate knock-down from Jerome Kaino.
The Boks were running out of gas though and when Conrad Smith split De Villiers and Serfontein to put Ben Smith over in the corner, the Ellis Park faithful were silenced.
Barrett held his nerve to slot the conversion from the touchline to set up a grandstand finish with the scores at 24-20 and twelve minutes on the clock.
Three minutes latter, with the Springboks looking dead on their feet, Coles crossed in the corner to give the world champions a one-point lead.
Lambie tried a drop goal with four minutes remaining, but unlike at Newlands a week ago, he could not snatch the lead back for his team.
He was on target from his own half with the match-winning penalty though as the All Blacks paid a heavy price for Liam Messam's high tackle on Schalk Burger.