South Africa 31-29 New Zealand: All Blacks denied Rugby Championship Grand Slam in sensational finish

By Sports Desk October 02, 2021

South Africa's Elton Jantjies nailed a last-gasp penalty in a thrilling 31-29 win over New Zealand to deny the All Blacks a Grand Slam at the Rugby Championship.

Jordie Barrett, whose late kick secured the title in a 19-17 victory over the Springboks last week, looked to have sealed a sixth win from six for New Zealand in similar fashion on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

That was until Jantjies struck with the final action of an enthralling contest to end a 10-match winning streak for Ian Foster's men.

Lukhanyo Am's terrific behind-the-back pass led to Damian de Allende's opening try before an exchange of penalties kept South Africa five points ahead.

New Zealand levelled when Sevu Reece just made the corner after a fine Beauden Barrett kick, and despite another Handre Pollard penalty, the All Blacks were soon in command.

A fast, flowing move ended with Ardie Savea going over under the posts and Brad Weber added another try two minutes later following a lineout steal.

Then, momentum shifted. Pollard made no mistake with two more penalties to close the gap to three points, and the Boks were ahead 53 minutes in when Makazole Mapimpi crossed in the corner after the ball was worked from the opposite flank.

Replacement Jantjies stretched the lead further with another penalty, only after play was brought back following an advantage when Faf de Klerk fumbled at the breakdown barely a metre from the try line.

Jordie Barrett reduced the arrears as tensions began to build, although the Hurricanes back kept his cool to kick his side into the lead with five minutes left after South Africa were penalised for holding on.

A gripping finale saw Jantjies sink a brilliant drop goal a minute later only for Jordie Barrett to send another late kick sailing through the posts in what looked like a repeat from a week ago.

But South Africa came again, a lineout inside the New Zealand 22 leading to a penalty right in front of the posts, from which Jantjies made no mistake.

Boks rewarded for perseverance

At risk of a fourth consecutive Test defeat for the first time since 2016, the world champions were rewarded for a bold but clean display in which they refused to allow New Zealand to sustain first-half momentum.

This was only the second time the All Blacks have lost a Test match in Australia against anyone other than the Wallabies and showed the Springboks' performance in that narrow previous defeat was no flash in the pan.

All Blacks off the boil

This was something of an off-day for New Zealand after an exemplary championship, as they yielded both possession and territory surprisingly easily.

Giving up eight turnovers and losing six rucks overall did not help their cause in a game of fine margins.

Related items

  • England recover from nervy start to lead West Indies by 207 runs England recover from nervy start to lead West Indies by 207 runs

    England took control of the second Test against West Indies as the hosts established a 207-run lead at the close of play on Saturday's third day at Trent Bridge.

    The hosts ended the day on 248-3, aided by two century partnerships from Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett, and Joe Root and Harry Brook. Both Brook, on 71, and Root, on 37, will resume batting on Sunday.

    Despite Chris Woakes claiming the wickets of Alzarri Joseph (10) and Jayden Seales (duck) in successive balls, a final-wicket stand of 71 from Shamar Joseph (33) and Joshua da Silva, who was left unbeaten on 82, saw West Indies, who resumed at 351-5, reach 457.

    Scores: England 416 & 248-3 (Duckett 76, Brook 71*, Pope 51, A Joseph 2-58) lead West Indies 457 (Hodge 120, Da Silva 82*, Woakes 4-84) by 207 runs

    England's second innings, which they began 41 runs adrift, got off to a nervy start as opener Zak Crawley (three) was run out by Jayden Seales at the non-striker's end.

    However, much like they did in the first innings, Duckett (76) and Pope (51) settled the hosts down with a 119-run second-wicket stand, before Alzarri Joseph claimed both in the space of eight deliveries.

    Still, Brook and Root also produced an important, unbroken 108-run partnership that placed Ben Stokes' side in command heading into day four.

    Data Debrief: Successive century partnerships for Duckett and Pope

    With a strong finish to their opening innings, the Windies reached 457 - their highest total on English soil since 1995.

    England's response was led by Duckett and Pope's impressive stand of 119, their second three-figure partnership of the series.

    They became only the ninth pair to make two century stands for England in a men's Test, and first since Joe Root and Alistair Cook achieved the feat against Pakistan eight years ago.

  • Nadal confirms Swedish Open final spot with another comeback win Nadal confirms Swedish Open final spot with another comeback win

    Rafael Nadal booked his place in the final Swedish Open after beating Duje Ajdukovic in Bastad. 

    Nadal came from a set down, as he did in his quarter-final triumph over Mariano Navone, to win 4-6 6-3 6-4 on Centre Court. 

    Ajdukovic started the faster of the two, winning a break point early on and raced into a three-game lead against the Spaniard. 

    While Nadal found his rhythm, winning a break of his own in the fifth game, the Croatian was able to hold his serve to take the first set with relative ease. 

    The 22-time major winner learned his lesson from his slow start, trading blows with Ajdukovic and earning a quick break point of his own in the third game. 

    Ajdukovic would rally, but another break point from Nadal in the seventh game proved decisive as he saw out the set to take it to a decider. 

    And it looked as though the Spaniard would ease into Sunday's final as he led 3-0, but Ajdukovic would fight back, going on to win the next three games. 

    Nadal, however, used all his experience to regain composure before finding a crucial break in the eighth game, ending the contest on serve as his opponent deft touch from the back of the court found the net. 

    Nadal will face either Thiago Agustin Tirante or Nuno Borges in Sunday's final.  

    Data Debrief: Nadal back on top

    His second as a wildcard after Hamburg in 2015, Nadal has now reached his 72nd ATP event final on clay. It is the second-most of any player on the surface in the Open Era, trailing only Guillermo Vilas (76) over that span.

    Nadal's victory sees him reach his first tour-level final for the first time since Roland Garros in 2022 where he beat Casper Rudd for his 14th French Open title. 

  • Berrettini sees off Tsitsipas to seal Swiss Open final spot Berrettini sees off Tsitsipas to seal Swiss Open final spot

    Matteo Berrettini is through to his third Swiss Open final following an impressive straight-sets victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    The 2018 champion - and 2022 runner-up - prevailed 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 after one hour and 42 minutes to set up a championship showdown with Quentin Halys in Gstaad.

    Berrettini had lost all five of his previous meetings with top seed Tsitsipas, but dropped just one point on serve during the opening set, which he eventually snatched in a tie-break.

    The Greek was seeking his third ATP final of the season on clay, having triumphed in Monte-Carlo and been runner-up to Casper Ruud in Barcelona.

    However, he just could not shake off the Italian, who crucially broke in game 11 of the second set before holding for victory.

    He will contest Sunday's championship match with Frenchman Halys, who saw off fifth seed Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets.

    Data Debrief: Big-serving Berrettini stuns Tsitsipas

    The statistics certainly favoured Tsitsipas, who was 14-1 against Italian opponents on clay and 29-2 against players ranked outside the top 50 on surface since the start of the 2021 season.

    However, Berrettini had other ideas. The former Wimbledon finalist, who was 1-6 against top-15 opponents on clay, won 92% of his first-serve points.

    And while Tsitsipas double-faulted on four occasions, Berrettini stood firm and is now an impressive 12-1 in Gstaad.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.