This was the Boks first victory over the All Blacks since 2011 and Heyneke Meyer’s inaugural win over the men in black.
New Zealand sealed the Rugby Championship with a win over Argentina last week but there was no way this was to be a dead rubber match.
The Springboks had led for most of the match but when the All Blacks fought back strongly to edge in front, 25-24, it seemed Jean de Villiers and his men might slip to their sixth defeat in a row to their old foes.
But a rash shoulder charge by Liam Messam on Schalk Burger gave the Boks a penalty and a chance to snatch victory.
Even though the penalty seemed to have been awarded on the wrong spot by referee Wayne Barnes, Lambie stepped up and coolly slotted the kick from inside his own half.
A rousing rendition of the anthem signalled that a jam-packed Ellis Park was right behind the Boks, and De Villiers and his men quickly signalled they intended to channel the emotion positively.
The Boks took the ball wide at every opportunity and wiped out Beauden Barrett’s first score, a penalty, with a wonderful try by Francois Hougaard.
Showing they had been given the licence to run, Willie le Roux let the ball out across his own posts and a neat grubber on the far side and strong run by Jan Serfontein was finished off as the chunky scrum half flashed up on to carry the ball home in a 40m sprint to the line.
The All Blacks were struggling to win clean ball and set up solid phases at the line-outs, and were clearly rattled by the Springboks to play the ball to the extremities.
It was unsurprising when the Boks worked Bryan Habana away on the outside. The Bok sprinter smashed through Israel Dagg’s tackle to make ground upfield and when he was caught by the cover defence there was prop Jannie du Plessis, of all people, to take the pass.
The Boks set a fiery ruck and when the ball came out young, Handré Pollard took it on himself to take on the line, step bewilderingly, and crash over under the crossbar.
Pollard converted to put the boks 14-6 clear but it did not take long for the All Blacks to show why they take so much watching.
Aaron Smith managed to shuffle the ball away to Julian Savea from a scrum that was in trouble and the winger sprinted strongly, and chipped and gathered the ball himself, to take the thrust into the Boks’ 22.
The All Blacks recycled quickly and when the ball
SOUTH AFRICA 27
Tries: Conversion: Penalties:
NEW ZEALAND 25
Tries: Conversions: Penalties:
got to Barrett, he expertly worked the space to set the powerful Malakai Fekitoa charging up the middle for a try at the posts and Barrett’s conversion meant the visitors were right back in it at 14-13.
But far from being rattled, the Boks kept to their attacking mind-set and in spite of some big calls by referee Wayne Barnes going against them they maintained the momentum and upset the usual All Black pattern by scoring just before halftime.
A scrum right on the line provided the bridgehead and when the ball came out, Pollard took it flat, crashed into the defenders and rolled through Richie McCaw’s tackle to score.
The young fly half added the conversion, at that point his 16th of the match, to take the Boks to the break 21-13 to the good.
Pollard kicked a penalty to extend the Boks’ lead but as the match entered the last quarter, there were signs of the Boks tiring as the All Blacks started to set up camp in their half.
The tempo was interchanged, instead of the Boks attacking they were defending, and a slick backline