South Africa hold off New Zealand to record historic Rugby Championship win

South Africa signed off their Rugby Championship campaign in victory lane after beating New Zealand 31-29 on Saturday when Elton Jantjies sealed the result with the last kick of the game.

New Zealand were unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Springboks and looked to have won thanks to Jordie Barrett's boot, but it was South Africa substitute Jantjies who secured the spoils.

The All Blacks edged the reigning world champions 19-17 when they met for the 100th time seven days earlier, and rugby's top two Test teams engaged in another terrific contest at Cbus Super Stadium.

Ian Foster's men wrapped up the title with that Week 5 victory but kept standards high as they looked to make it six wins from six in an instant Test of the Year contender.

The All Blacks were pegged back early after Lukhanyo Am sensationally set up Damian de Allende for the game's opening score in less than six minutes.

Am's behind-the-back pass bamboozled New Zealand's defence in what almost seemed a direct response to those suggesting South Africa's attack has lacked bite so far this year.

While the Springboks looked to gain points for style, New Zealand kept up their tradition in responding well to adversity and crossed over for three tries in response before the break.

Sevu Reece snaffled the ball up in the right corner to bring the scores level at eight apiece after 13 minutes, with Ardie Savea and Brad Weber each showing great initiative to follow him over the line.

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Springboks fly-half Handre Pollard put faith in his boot and kept the scoreboard ticking until Makazole Mapimpi's opportunistic score in the 51st minute edged the underdogs in front 22-20.

Utility replacement Elton Jantjies took over kicking duties and increased that lead to 25-20 with a quarter of the game to go, signalling a torrent of New Zealand pressure in the closing stages.

It didn't help South Africa's chances that captain Siya Kolisi was forced off due to a head injury just prior to Jantjies' first scoring contribution, particularly given his impact enforcing his side's will at the ruck.

The youngest Barrett brother, Jordie, shrugged off a late hit to kick two penalties and put New Zealand's noses back in front after 76 minutes, only for Jantjies to thunder over a drop goal and reclaim a 28-26 lead for South Africa.

That lasted barely a minute as Barrett kept his cool to curl over another penalty in the penultimate minute, but it was the Springboks who sprung last to edge a titanic Test tie.

Substitute Frans Steyn boomed one more penalty deep into All Blacks territory, and the South Africa maul went to work off the resulting line-out. The Kiwi camp caved under the pressure and gave up one last penalty for a ruck infringement in front of the posts, and Jantjies couldn't miss his mark.

Some South Africa players were reduced to tears following their first win over New Zealand since 2018, a remarkable response following the recent back-to-back losses against the Wallabies.

New Zealand add to their Rugby Championship collection, while Nienaber's side settle for third despite the late win.

Australia secured the runner-up finish behind the All Blacks after beating the Pumas 32-17 earlier on Saturday, collecting four straight wins in the tournament for the first time.

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