South Africa beat New Zealand with late penalty

New Zealand’s All Blacks suffered their first loss in three years of the Rugby Championship when they were beaten 27-25 by South Africa’s Springboks at Ellis Park.

Replacement flyhalf Patrick Lambie kicked a 78th minute penalty from 55m out to snatch the victory after the All Blacks had fought their way back from being 24-13 down early in the second half.

The result ends a five match losing streak for South Africa against New Zealand and is the first time that the All Blacks have lost a match in the Rugby Championship since it began in 2012.

South Africa’s victory is their first over New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg since 2004 and ends a five match losing streak to the All Blacks.

The All Black loss is New Zealand’s second since they won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 as their only other loss since then was to England at Twickenham in 2012.

It 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 with the 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.

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.

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.

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