Springboks break New Zealand All Blacks’ unbeaten run

Saturday’s win was Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s first victory over the defending world champions, while South Africa brought New Zealand’s impressive 21-match undefeated run to an end.

The electric atmosphere at a packed Ellis Park Stadium saw the Boks put in a spirited display from the kick-off.

Meyer’s backing of the 20-year-old Handre Pollard proved to be anything but a gamble as the youngster was the leading man in the side’s victory.

The youngster played with reckless abandon as he took on the line at will and showed no fear of taking contact.

The Bok pack established ascendancy at the breakdown which gave the backline, with Pollard at the helm, quality front-foot ball.

Pollard thrived due to this advantage as he got his backline going while taking a few stabs at the All Blacks defence to great effect.

Another youngster in the Bok side, outside centre Jan Serfontein also showed he was growing in confidence in the position.

Missed opportunity
The Boks had an opportunity to snatch an early lead, but a Pollard penalty attempt missed the mark. Instead the All Blacks got their noses in front through a Beauden Barrett kick at posts in the eighth minute.

Three minutes later, Ellis Park erupted when the hosts launched an attack from inside their 22 with captain Jean de Villiers putting in a grubber kick through which was collected by a speeding Cornal Hendricks.

Serfontein next made some ground before popping the ball to Francois Hougaard, who eluded a tackle, and sprinted through for the try, with Pollard converting.

Ten minutes later Barrett landed his second penalty conversion of the match to get his side within a point of the South Africans.

Pollard then extended the lead when he took a half gap inside the opposition’s 22, beating the advancing All Black line to score and convert his own try.

The All Blacks, however, stayed stubbornly close to the Boks as they slotted two penalties and crossed the whitewash seven minutes from the end of the half.

The tourists responded with their first try of the night, when the fleet-footed Malakai Fekitoa finished a move that started from a Julian Savea chip-and-chase down the blindside.

Breakthrough
On the stroke of half-time, the Boks found the breakthrough when Pollard scored his brace by rolling out of a tackle shortly before the line, and planting the ball for the five-pointer.

Pollard then converted the try to give his side an imposing 21-13 lead going into the half-time break, and extended the lead with a penalty conversion seven minutes after the restart.

The All Blacks, however, started to dominate the possession stats and their pressure finally paid off in the 65th minute, as winger Ben Smith went over in the corner following a lapse in the Boks’ defence.

Four minutes later replacement hooker Dane Coles dotted down on the left-hand corner to give his side a one-point lead. With time running out, referee Wayne Barnes, who made a number of controversial calls in the match, awarded the Boks a crucial penalty just inside their half.

After a failed drop goal attempt three minutes earlier, Lambie was given the task of landing a 60 metre penalty conversion for the victory.

Showing nerves of steel the 23-year-old obliged, and brought thousands to their feet and sparked celebrations around the stadium.

Scorers: South Africa 27 (21): Tries: Francois Hougaard, Handre Pollard (2).

Conversions: Pollard (3). Penalties: Pat Lambie, Pollard.

New Zealand 25 (13): Dane Coles, Malakai Fekitoa, Ben Smith. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2). Penalties: Barrett (2)  –Sapa

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