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All Blacks stun Springboks in last minute

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Lynn McConnell     07 Oct 2018     Getty Images

Replacement flanker Ardie Savea drove over from the base of a maul to deny the Springboks a win they seemed to have settled for with 10 minutes to play. At that stage they were 31-18 up and apparently cruising home for another big win.

But All Blacks' determination, in a game where they were unable to impose themselves in their usual matter, saw their lineout maul provide the basis of a recovery fit to rank with the finest in All Blacks-South Africa encounters.
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South African indiscipline provided the penalty chances, a moment's inattention at the last penalty allowed replacement first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga to get a long kick into the corner that provided the change Savea took while earlier another drive produced a try for Scott Barrett, who moved to the flank late in the game.

South Africa, who will long wonder how they lost, had been well served by their loose quartet, hooker Malcolm Marx being included in that group for his superiority at the breakdown and uncompromising play with ball in hand. Siya Kolisi was also a significant figure while Pieter-Steph du Toit relished the chance to make collisions with the All Blacks defenders.

Halfback Faf de Klerk was busy on the pass and kick while second five-eighths Damian de Allende was a rock in midfield.



However, the ability of the All Blacks to cover their off-night by pragmatic choice to revert to force up front proved their ability to employ another avenue of attack to secure their win.

After being tied up 6-6 at halftime, the Springboks struck three minutes into the second half, when fullback Willie le Roux fielded a kick and allowed centre Jesse Kriel the chance to run hard through disappointing defence to score.

First five-eighths Handre Pollard landed a penalty goal and then the failure to control the restart allowed South Africa to make the play again and with du Toit breaking the line and taking play to the goalline but, inexplicably du Plessis threw a long pass straight into touch.

However, in the following play as New Zealand tried to drive off the line they kicked to touch and from the resulting lineout Kolisi charged hard through the midfield and provided de Allende with a straight run to the line.

Hooker Codie Taylor's consistent proximity to the ball in the 54th minute split a breakdown and he ran hard into space and looked outside to find halfback Aaron Smith placed to take his pass and run in New Zealand's first try.

Then in the 58th minute after finally giving wing Aphiwe Dyantyi a chance, he kicked ahead and it took Beauden Barrett's speed to beat him to the ball, but he carried it back over the line and that allowed South Africa to use the five-metre scrum to have wing Cheslin Kolbe score in the other corner.

Again New Zealand responded and the lineout produced another chance on the opposite wing when Rieko Ioane crossed in the 61st minute to keep New Zealand in touch.

The pressure South Africa applied was constant during the first 70 minutes.

In the first 15 minutes, the All Blacks had only 14 percent of possession, a situation not helped by conceding five early penalties, two of which were goaled by Pollard.

South Africa's best first half chance came when de Allende charged toward the goalposts only to be turned on his back by centre Ryan Crotty under the bar to deny them.

When the All Blacks had their own rare chances, mistakes denied them more points, with the best opportunity lost when Aaron Smith passed the ball at a retreating du Toit in an attempt to win a penalty, but referee Angus Gardner ruled it was done deliberately, and the South Africa cleared their line.

South Africa also moved the ball often, especially to their left flank in a bid to open chances for Dyantyi but he was given few clear chances to put his speed to use.

The All Blacks lost flanker Sam Cane when he suffered a neck injury at a breakdown in the 35th minute.

Jack Goodhue did not start after he succumbed to a virus and was unable to play with Ryan Crotty taking his place in the side and Anton Lienert-Brown moving onto the bench.

Scorers: South Africa 30 (Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe tries; Handre Pollard 3 con, 3 pen) New Zealand 32 (Aaron Smith, Rieko Ioane, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea tries; Beauden Barrett 2 pen; Richie Mo'unga 3 con). HT: 6-6