Jantjies magic secures Boks a draw in Wellington

Beauden Barrett (left) and Handre Pollard (Getty)
Beauden Barrett (left) and Handre Pollard (Getty)

Cape Town - Diminutive scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies scored a last-minute try as South Africa snatched a thrilling 16-16 draw with world title-holders New Zealand in the Rugby Championship on Saturday. 

The All Blacks were outplayed for most of the first half in Wellington yet still managed to turn with a 7-6 lead, scoring their only try of the game just before the break. 

The second half was all penalties until Jantjies grabbed a bouncing ball to score his try at the death, with Handre Pollard kicking the conversion under pressure to leave the scores level.

Just two months before the World Cup, star All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick left the field in pain with what appeared to be a serious arm injury midway through the second half.

With All Blacks coach Steve Hansen using the clash to test new combinations ahead of the World Cup there was no specialist lock among the replacements leaving blindside flanker Vaea Fifita to partner Sam Whitelock in the second row. 

The Springboks were on top for most of the first half apart from one brief moment when the All Blacks mounted a 60-metre attack from rare turnover ball, and the end result was a try to Jack Goodhue converted by Beauden Barrett. 

It put the All Blacks one point ahead after South Africa had dominated for the first 37 minutes of the game.

Faf de Klerk's clever kicking game constantly placed the All Blacks under pressure but apart from two early Pollard penalties the Springboks dominated possession and territory in their opening onslaught - but failed to score again in the half. 

The All Blacks, meanwhile, managed to survive on scraps before making their mark when they pounced on the turnover ball from Duane Vermeulen. 

As the Springboks scrambled to reorganise their defence, TJ Perenara fed Beauden Barrett who used his extreme speed to create space for Goodhue to race away for the try. 

They carried that form into the second half until the Springboks wilted and a Barrett penalty extended the lead to 10-6. 

When RG Snyman ploughed into Retallick the end result of the play was a penalty to the Springboks with Pollard landing his third shot at goal.

After Barrett missed two handy penalties, Richie Mo'unga took over the New Zealand kicking duties and landed two further three-pointers to push the lead out to 16-9.

But as the partisan New Zealand crowd prepared to celebrate, the game turned on its head in the final play of the game when Jantjies won the race for the ball over the line.

In the last four Tests between the All Blacks and South Africa the margin has never been more than two points with the All Blacks winning two, South Africa one and now a draw.

Scorers:

NZ 16 (7)

Try: Jack Goodhue

Conversion: Beauden Barrett

Penalties: Barrett, Richie Mo'unga (2)

SA 9 (6)

Try: Hershcel Jantjies

Conversion: Handre Pollard

Penalty: Pollard (3)

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Beauden Barrett; 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane; 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 George Bridge

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel

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