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South Africa led 30-13 against all powerful New Zealand and seemed destined to do what few other fifteens have ever done, beat the All Blacks in back to back matches. The Springboks previously upset the Kiwis 36-34 in New Zealand. Coming home and playing to a standing room only venue in Pretoria, it appeared that a rare double win would occur. The last time in the past ten-years that the All Blacks lost two in a row was in 2011, one loss to South Africa and one to Australia.
South Africa last scored consecutive wins against the All Blacks in 2009. But, historically, since 1930, also 1937, 1949 (twice), 1970, 1976, and 1978. New Zealand also recorded two match back to back losses to Australia (three sets) and France since 1930.
At the 75-minutes mark, the All Blacks mounted a comeback, which would produce the go-ahead points in the last five-minutes and (cliché coming), snap victory from the jaws of defeat. With Richie Mo’unga’s conversion with five seconds remaining, the Kiwis added two points to win 32-30, crushing South African hearts.
New Zealand, which had already won the Rugby Championship on points, finished 5-1. South Africa ended 3-2 but could boast of two fine matches against the reigning world champions.
These two sides will meet next in Pool B at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, starting next September. The same pool play sets up the possibility of both nations potentially meeting in the finals.
The All Blacks looked vulnerable in both of their Springbok matches. Next up for New Zealand is the much-anticipated game against England on November 3 in Twickenham. These fifteens have not met since November 2014 when the Kiwis prevailed 24-21 away. In addition, England have not won since 2012.
See the highlight clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPAOEa49eYo
In the other finale, Australia avoided last place by beating Argentina 45-34 in a “Tale of Two Halves.” In the first half, Argentina led 31-7, in what many considered the worst first half by a Wallaby side in the nation’s history. But with the last place, wooden spoon awaiting the loser, Australia chipped away at what became a porous Los Pumas defense, rallying for a startling 38-point second half. The Aussies finished 3-2 and Argentina 2-3 for the 2018 event.
Highlights at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKZNFoTW3vc