Springboks lose but stand tall in gutsy showdown at Newlands
Heartbreak. Absolute heartbreak.
Never has a side deserved to win a test more than the Springboks did at Newlands yesterday, yet somehow they came out on the wrong end of the result because they were up against the most ruthless team in the history of the sport.
The Springboks showed the response South Africans wanted to see after being mauled by the All Blacks in Albany three weeks ago, but it wasn't enough as they went down 25-24 in a match that will sit alongside the greatest in the 95 between the nations.
Two critical mistakes - a charged down kick and an intercept - led to tries for All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty and wing Rieko Ioane. Those were the difference.
Both sides scored three tries but a penalty against the Boks after Damian de Allende's red card for a late hit with an elbow on flyhalf Lima Sopoaga gave the visitors an eight-point cushion with three minutes left.
The Boks response was to score a try from a rolling maul through the immense Malcolm Marx, but they didn't have enough time to score again as the All Blacks left Newlands with a seventh win in a 10th visit.
The first half ran overtime for nearly nine minutes in a breathless period of play that saw possession change hands about five times. The Boks were not happy to end the half without something more for their efforts and the All Blacks refused to budge.
It was a thunderous period that could serve as a vignette of the entire match.