Jantjies outjumped Aaron Smith to collect Cheslin Kolbe’s chip through in the 79th minute – knocking it back into his own face before regathering and diving over. The conversion was far from straightforward, considering the pressure and from 14 metres in from the right touchline. But Pollard sent it soaring through the poles to give the Springboks another memorable evening in Wellington to follow last year’s victory at the same venue.
It seemed an unlikely finale after the All Blacks had taken control in the second half after the Springboks were unable to capitalise on a brilliant opening half hour. To see what Rassie Erasmus had to say after the Test, click here, or go here for all the match statistics.
The visitors started at 100km/h and dominated the majority of the first half but had only six points to show for an accurate and highly committed performance.
They charged down Richie Mo’unga in the opening ten seconds through Damian de Allende and hardly looked back in the first half until an All Black try against the run of play three minutes before the interval gave the home side an unlikely lead.
The All Blacks were knocked back in the tackle on the rare occasions they laid hand on the ball while the Springboks carried strongly into contact and looked threatening when in possession.
The home team was required to defend for their lives and conceded a number of penalties at kickable distances when they strayed offside in their urgency to take down the Springbok ball runners.
Referee Nick Berry of Australia spoke to Kieran Reid, the home captain, after the third such penalty, to warn him against a repeat. Unfortunately for the Springboks, Pollard’s third kick at goal kick stayed marginally outside the near side post.
It was a frustrating outcome for the Boks who deserved more for their pressure. It had begun as early as the second minute when Pollard slotted from 40 metres after the All Blacks were guilty of not releasing in the tackle.
Six minutes later he double the lead from much closer in when the All Blacks were adjudged offside on their own five metre line.
It was the end of the Springbok scoring for the half although they continued to dominate the collisions and all the statistics. But not the scoreboard by the time the halftime whistle came.
Three minutes before time the home crowd finally had something to celebrate after an error-strewn opening stanza from their team.
A turnover in midfield, just inside the All Black half, opened up an opportunity on the right flank for fullback Beauden Barrett to outflank the Springbok defence and turn a pass back infield for centre Jack Goodhue to sprint in from 20 metres.
Barrett, who had earlier missed a penalty from the same position nailed the conversion to give the All Blacks an unlikely, 7-6, lead.
New Zealand secured more parity of territory and possession in the second half and after seven minutes extended their lead to four points.
Barrett slotted his first penalty from close in and just to the right of the posts when Malcolm Marx was penalised for not releasing in the tackle and the situation could have worsened for the Springboks a further seven minutes later from the same position after the visitor’s scrum was penalised for standing up.
Barrett left the kick wide of the near post to left off the Springboks who began to ring the changes after 55 minutes by bringing on Francs Steyn, Trevor Nyakane and Tendai Mtwarira in quick succession.
The new props had an immediate impact by winning a scrum penalty of their own to give Pollard the opportunity to close the gap to one point from 45 metres out with 20 minutes remaining. Pollard unerringly sent his kick straight through the poles to make it 10-9 to the home side.
New Zealand tossed the ball to Mo’unga to reclaim the four-point margin when the Springbok back line was caught offside with 14 minutes remaining. He replaced Barrett – who had missed two kicks – and had no problem from straight in front on the 22-metre line.
The All Blacks were upping the tempo and it required a critical ruck turnover – forced by Francois Louw – to stem the black tide but the ball was immediately returned to the home team with an overthrown lineout that ended with a five-metre scrum to the All Blacks.
From the second phase the Boks were again penalised for not releasing and Mo’unga landed his second penalty to put the All Blacks into a seven-point lead with five minutes remaining.
But Jantjies’ glorious start to his Springbok career was not done. He appeared as a HIA replacement for Faf de Klerk and wrote himself into the annals of Bok history with another brilliant supporting run.
New Zealand – Try: Jack Goodhue. Conversion: Beauden Barrett. Penalty goals: Barrrett, Richie Mo’unga (2).
South Africa – Try: Herschel Jantjies. Conversion: Handre Pollard. Penalty goals: Pollard (3).