HELL has frozen over in New Zealand after South Africa smashed the All Blacks’ immortal home test record with a famous win in Wellington.
In a result that seems destined to be remembered for a very long time, South Africa had to defend a determined All Blacks attack well into the 84th minute before a handling error finally handed them a well-deserved victory.
South Africa delivered one of the great defensive performances of the age and their ability to hang on for the final 20 minutes was as brave as it gets.
The tension was unbearable during the thrilling final minutes — the Boks gripping on and the All Blacks playing all the rugby and yet not quite able to finish the many half chances they created.
South Africa held on to win 36-34 after the All Blacks appeared certain to pinch another famous last-gasp victory when they had possession just two metres short of the try line after the 80-minute mark.
The All Blacks were chasing their 40th straight win on home soil stretching back to that defeat to South Africa more than nine years ago.
South Africa had won just one of their past 12 tests agains New Zealand and were considered no-hope against the world champions on Saturday night.
It was also New Zealand’s first loss in the Rugby Championship since 2015 — 15 tests ago.
South Africa also hadn’t won in Wellington since 1998.
Against the advice of world rugby opinion, it was the visitors who raced out to a 24-17 half time lead to get New Zealand nervous.
One week after getting beaten by Australia, South Africa sprung an early ambush on the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington to snap their nine-year losing streak in New Zealand.
The nerves had turned into pure terror for the Kiwi camp when the visitors went ahead 36-24 with a try to winger Aphiwe Dyantyi, who was able to cut back inside the covering All Blacks defence with just over 20 minuts to play.
— Fox Sports Lab (@FoxSportsLab)
The All Blacks struck back to cut the margin back to a converted try when forward Codie Taylor collapsed over the line after his pack had pushed past the Springboks defence in a punishing maul.
The Springboks’ narrow lead was then pushed to breaking point when Willie le Roux was given a yellow card and sent to the sin bin in the 68th minute for holding an All Blacks player down during a linebreak.
Their line held desperately for more than seven minutes when down to 14-men, but they were finally broken in the 74th minute when Ardie Savea ran onto a hole in the Boks’ line 10m out from the line.
#RugbyChampionship – RESULT:
New Zealand ?? 34-36 ?? South Africa
HEROIC! THE SPRINGBOKS HAVE BEATEN THE ALL BLACKS!
?????? pic.twitter.com/6ZLJxVNSkn— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV)
His try gave Beauden Barrett a chance to tie the game with his conversion from 10m to the right of the posts, but his kick clunked into the right post and bounced wide.
It left the Springboks ahead 36-34 after 77 minutes.
They held on for their best win in years.
The incredible match was the talk of the sporting world.
5 tries against the ABs in New Zealand.
1st Bok win NZ since 2009.
1st Bok win in Wellington since 1998
Highest score against NZ in NZ.
I don’t care how much of a doubter or naysayer you are, you have to be impressed with that win!— Bryan Habana (@BryanHabana)
What an amazing Test match. Well done to the Boks, and to any genius out there who got on with SA paying $10.— Iain Payten (@iainpayten)
— David Mbewa (@MbewaDavid)
.@Springboks defeat @AllBlacks 36-34 in Wellington
– South Africa’s first win against New Zealand since 2014
– South Africa’s first win in NZ since 2009
– NZ lose first #RugbyChampionship match since 2015 (15 Tests) #NZLvRSA— Fox Sports Lab (@FoxSportsLab)
What on earth is going on?! All Blacks 14 points down and facing a mighty challengeto win this one! #NZLvSA— Jack de Menezes (@JackdeMenezes)
Whatever you’re doing, stop it and get your TV on.
Springboks lead the All Blacks 31-17 after 49 minutes.
Heck of a Test match #NZLVRSA— Christy Doran (@ChristypDoran)
— Craig Norenbergs (@CraigNorenbergs)
This game in Wellington is immense. All Blacks over to you…— Matt Somerford (@somerfjord)