Rugby Union

South Africa end New Zealand's winning run with thrilling victory

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South Africa ended New Zealand's 22-match winning run on Saturday as Patrick Lambie kicked a late penalty to earn victory in Johannesburg.

In a pulsating Rugby Championship match, Lambie notched the winning points two minutes from time to condemn the All Blacks to their first defeat since a 38-21 reverse at the hands of England at Twickenham in December 2012.

The Springboks had won just one of the last ten meetings with the world champions, and coach Heyneke Meyer admitted it was a great feeling to finally earn a victory over the dominant All Blacks.

He said: "All credit to Pat, it was an unbelievable kick under huge pressure.

"I have been involved in rugby for 30 years and always wondered what it felt like to beat the All Blacks."

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Gracious in defeat

Despite their first loss in nearly two years, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was gracious in defeat and admitted his side didn't deserve to win.

"I have no problem with the referee giving the penalty, I don't think there was intention to hit him high, but he did," he said.

"It was a great game of rugby and could have gone either way, but my heart tells me the Boks deserved it today."


Aside from the result, it was a momentous occasion for All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who made a record-breaking 134th appearance in the match at Ellis Park.

He now trails only Ireland's Brian O'Drsicoll (141 Tests) and Australian George Gregan (139) in the all-time list.

Thrilling contest

In a thrilling first-half, South Africa's Handre Pollard prove to be a thorn in the visitors side as he converted both of his tries to help his side to a 21-13 lead at the break.

Pollard then struck again just after the restart to further extend his team's lead, before New Zealand demonstrated why they are the best side in the world with a spirited comeback.

Ben Smith's try was converted by Beauden Barrett to reduce the deficit before they turned the game on its head by edging ahead thanks to a Dane Coles try eight minutes from time.

Barrett missed the resulting conversion and Lambie was given the chance late on to snatch the victory, and he took it with aplomb to seal an epic victory over the Rugby Championship winners.

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