In Summary
  • The lead changed hands several times before a brilliant Damian McKenzie try on 69 minutes helped the All Blacks build an eight-point advantage.
  • Down to 14 men after Damian de Allende was red-carded, South Africa fought back with a Malcolm Marx try converted by Elton Jantjies narrowing the gap to one point.

CAPE TOWN

Title winners New Zealand edged South Africa 25-24 on Saturday in a thrilling 2017 Rugby Championship final-round match at Newlands stadium in Cape Town.

The lead changed hands several times before a brilliant Damian McKenzie try on 69 minutes helped the All Blacks build an eight-point advantage.

Down to 14 men after Damian de Allende was red-carded, South Africa fought back with a Malcolm Marx try converted by Elton Jantjies narrowing the gap to one point.

It was a stirring show from the Springboks after a humiliating 57-0 defeat in New Zealand last month — the heaviest in their 126-year history.

New Zealand completed the season with 28 points from six victories having won the title before even playing their penultimate match last week in Argentina.

South Africa have 14 points, Australia 10 and Argentina none. The Pumas host the Wallabies later on Saturday in Mendoza.

"What a game, what a crowd," said All Blacks skipper Kieran Read. "It was an awesome game and credit to the Springboks.

"They certainly came out a totally different beast (from Auckland), they pushed us all the way.

"We knew it would be tough and it took over 80 minutes for us to get over the line, we just had to hang in there.

"The Springboks were getting over the gain-line with their big boys carrying down the middle, so we will need to look at our defence."

Springboks skipper Eben Etzebeth said: "It was an unbelievable performance and I'm so proud of the boys.

"We did not get the result we wanted, but the performance was much better.

"We just have to stick together and keep working hard and then, hopefully, the results will come.

"The fightback showed that we were all warriors out there. We really appreciated the crowd support."

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