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The enthusiastic rugby fans in Cape Town, South Africa, waited nine-years for a return of the All Blacks versus Springbok rivalry, and witnessed an exciting but disappointing result as New Zealand beat South Africa 25-24.

For the Kiwis, they ended the 2017 Rugby Championship undefeated at 6-0. The Springboks and Australia tied for second place at 2-2-2, when the Wallabies beat Argentina 37-20 in Mendoza. Los Pumas evened up the score at 20-20 in the second half but Australia exploded for two tries to clinch the win. Highlights at

Earlier this year, in Albany, New Zealand, the All Blacks handed South Africa their worst defeat in this old rivalry, romping 57-0.

Saturday's match was competitive throughout with New Zealand up 8-3 at the break. The game see-sawed back and forth with South Africa up 17-15, and upset in sight. But a fine run by the All Black fullback McKenzie brought the Kiwis into a 22-17 lead, which they never relinquished. South Africa, with a man red carded, scored one last try and conversion to reduce the lead to 25-24. The Springboks had battled down to the wire with a stout defense.

Highlights of the game at

The northern hemisphere Six Nations 2018 tournament will begin on February 1 and continue until March 16. Until then, the top five World Rugby ranked fifteens are:

  1. New Zealand
  2. England
  3. Australia
  4. Ireland
  5. South Africa