There was late drama in Queensland as the undefeated All Blacks sealed the Rugby Championship crown with a last-gasp penalty against South Africa on Saturday
Jordie Barrett’s last-gasp penalty against South Africa on Saturday clinched New Zealand the Rugby Championship crown as they beat their rivals 19-17 in Queensland.
The All Blacks, who remain undefeated and narrowly justified their No 1 world ranking, have secured the Rugby Championship with one match to spare.
The 100th Test between the two great rugby union nations certainly didn’t disappoint – with plenty of twists and turns throughout.
All Blacks star Will Jordan and Springboks’ Sbu Nkosi each ran over early tries before the Test turned into a kicking affair in Queensland.
Barrett and his South African counterpart Handre Pollard bagged four penalties each as both sides took turns to grab the lead in the enthralling Rugby Championship encounter.
However, with little to separate the two sides, it was Barrett’s penalty two minutes from time that sealed the victory and more importantly the Rugby Championship title.
And All Blacks coach, Ian Foster, while not entirely happy with the performance – admitted his delight at the grit and determination his side showed against their rivals.
Foster said: “The performance was not what we wanted. We were forced into a lot of errors because of the pressure [but] we showed a determination to keep fighting and got there in the end.
“It’s really significant for us. The 100th, the history between us, they are a team we respect greatly. Hats off to Jordie for that last kick.”
Jordan’s quickfire try in the third minute gave New Zealand the early advantage before Nkosi ran over for South Africa on Satirday in Queensland.
Then two penalties from Pollard put South Africa into an 11-7 lead after just 13 minutes but Barrett then put the All Blacks in front with two of his own heading into the break – the second after Nkosi was sin binned for a deliberate knockdown.
Pollard and Barrett continued from where they left off in the second half, with the lead changing six times throughout, but it was the All Blacks star who came up trumps at the death.
“We knew this game was going to come down to the wire, it was tit-for-tat out there,” said New Zealand forward Ardie Savea following the victory. “They put us under a lot of pressure. Just relieved really.”