In the wake of a 57-0 thrashing at QBE Stadium in Albany three weeks ago, the All Blacks and Springboks produced one of the greatest test matches of recent times in Cape Town early this morning (NZT).
The 25-24 win to the All Blacks was a vastly improved effort by the South Africans, with the Malcolm Marx-inspired outfit pushing Steve Hansen’s men for the entirety of the match.
Here’s how the media from around the world reacted to arguably one of the best tests of the professional era:
All Blacks edge Boks in thriller – By Gavin Rich of SuperSport
“Two soft tries in the last quarter dealt the killer blows to the Springboks but the narrow 25-24 win scored by the perennial Castle Lager Rugby Championship leaders from New Zealand in a great test match was a case of order being restored in the history of titanic battles between these nations.
Several years ago it would have been unimaginable for the Boks to be cheered by their supporters for losing by one point to their oldest foe, but the ovation they got at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday was deserved.
A better bounce of the ball here or there and some kinder luck could have seen them pull off one of the most astounding turn-arounds in international rugby history following the thumping they received in New Zealand three weeks ago.
In the end the heroic Boks, as tends to be the case against the Kiwis, will lament the small errors made that eventually cost them, such as the little attempted tap pass when they were pressing for the line as the game reached the hour mark that was intercepted for a length of the field try for All Black winger Rieko Ioane.”
Heroic Boks heartbroken in Newlands epic
“The Springboks were heroic, turning out their best performance of the Allister Coetzee era, but it still wasn’t enough as they fell to a 25-24 defeat to the All Blacks in Cape Town on Saturday.
It was a gutting loss for the Boks, who had thrown absolutely everything at the world champions.
The Boks held a 17-15 lead with 15 minutes to play, but in the end a late Damian McKenzie try shattered South African hopes.
The Boks defended like their lives depended on it, ran with aggression and intensity and just so very clearly wanted this one desperately.
It was not to be, but this performance will go a long way towards restoring faith in the national side following that 57-0 hammering in Albany three weekends ago.”
South Africa 24 New Zealand 25: Springboks push All Blacks all the way despite late red card
“Cape Town had waited nine years for a Test between these two sides and the occasion never disappointed.
For nearly every blistering counter-attack by the All Blacks there was a Springbok turnover to match it, usually by [Malcolm] Marx, emulating the great performances in recent times of his predecessor Bismarck du Plessis. The fact that he missed out on the Man of the Match award was a crime.
Allister Coetzee’s Springboks might have only managed two victories [in the Rugby Championship], yet he should take heart from the improved physicality and the emergence of Marx as a world-leading talent in what remains a young side, ahead of travelling to Europe for the November Tests. Their supporters will have seen enough to believe again.”
All Blacks beat Springboks 25-24 in classic Rugby Championship Test
“The All Blacks completed a clean sweep of the Rugby Championship while the Springboks restored pride in their jersey in one of the great Test matches in front of 50,000 fans at Newlands.
New Zealand held on to win 25-24 in Cape Town on Sunday morning, their sixth straight victory in the tournament, in what was a completely different contest to South Africa’s previous 57-0 capitulation at North Harbour.
The old rivals scored three tries apiece in a brutal yet breathtaking Test, proving there is no such thing as a dead rubber between the two proud rugby nations.”
The Rugby Championship: South Africa 24-25 New Zealand
“The second half was a pulsating affair.
Ross Cronje’s converted try soon put the Springboks ahead but Rieko Ioane picked off an interception and rampaged 80m to see the All Blacks back in front.
Within three minutes South Africa restored their lead as Jean-Luc Du Preez strode over, only for a moment of magic from McKenzie to once again put New Zealand ahead.
The key moment came when Sopoaga stretched the lead to eight points with a penalty awarded for a late, high tackle on him by De Allende, who was dismissed – perhaps harshly – by French referee Jerome Garces.
However, a Springboks side unrecognisable from the one crushed by the All Blacks in Auckland, responded as Marx barged over after a line-out and Jantjies converted.
But a turnover as they pressed forward in search of a thrilling win allowed the All Blacks to kick out the ball and secure the victory.”
South Africa 24-25 New Zealand: All Blacks hold off gutsy Springboks
“The margin between the two sides never went beyond five points – a far cry from the 57-0 hammering New Zealand inflicted on the Springboks just three weeks ago in Albany.
South Africa stood up to their opponents physically, caused them issues at the breakdown, and will feel hard done by not to have come away with a monumental victory in Cape Town.”