South Africa produced a stunning last-minute try to claim a 16-16 tie against New Zealand in a thrilling encounter in Wellington.
Herschel Jantjies, who scored two tries on his debut against Australia last week, ran onto Cheslin Kolbe’s chip before outmuscling Aaron Smith and touching down. Handre Pollard added the conversion to ensure his side finished the contest level.
Leading 7-6 at the interval courtesy of Jack Goodhue’s try, the home side had looked good for the win until Jantjies late intervention.
And while delighted with the result, South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said his team got “fairly lucky in a big way.”
“For the first 35 minutes we played really well. In the second half I think they totally dominated except the last minute,” Erasmus told reporters. “So, fairly lucky in a big way.”
For New Zealand there may yet be more disappointment to come with star player Brodie Retallick having been taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder. Retallick now faces a race to be fit for the start of the Rugby World Cup in September
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says he will now have to “sit and wait” for news on Retallick, but he refused to be downbeat after watching his side surrender victory so late on.
“The last couple of seconds was pretty tough to watch but we’ve done that to plenty of sides ourselves so sometimes you’ve got to take your own medicine,” Hansen told reporters
“But there were enough signs there to say that if we keep working away, get our timing better, get our execution better then we’re going to hurt some teams. So we’re not going to panic.
“We had to find some things out, we’ve found them out which is great and we’re reasonably happy, not so much with the performance but we are happy with what we’re seeing and where we know we can go.”
In the day’s other game, Australia defeated Argentina 16-10 in Brisbane.