New Zealand scored two tries in the final three minutes to beat South Africa 29-22 and win a record- extending 10th Tri-Nations title in 15 editions of the southern hemisphere rugby championship.
Captain Richie McCaw, Israel Dagg and Tony Woodcock touched down as the All Blacks ran in three tries to one before a crowd of more than 90,000 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto. The loss leaves defending champion South Africa winless in this year’s tournament. Morne Steyn kicked 17 points for the Springboks.
“We just hung in there and believed we could do it,” McCaw said in an interview with Fox Sports. “You’ve just got to keep playing for 80 minutes. We knew they were getting tired.”
McCaw scored in the corner for a try that was awarded by the television match official to tie the score 22-22. Dagg then outsprinted the Springboks defense down the wing to win the game and Dan Carter added the conversion with the final play of the match.
“I really thought we’d done enough,” captain John Smit told Fox Sports after becoming the second South African to play 100 Test matches. “We had that game in the winning and we let it go ourselves.”
New Zealand’s 14th straight victory in Tests lifted it to 23 points in the standings, tying its record tally from the 2006 tournament. The All Blacks face Australia on Sept. 11 in their final match.
South Africa, which got a try from Schalk Burger, hosts Australia in Pretoria on Aug. 28 and Bloemfontein a week later.
Both matches will be played at high altitude in South Africa’s Highveld region, where Australia hasn’t beaten the Springboks since an 11-9 victory in Johannesburg 47 years ago.