CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Oct 7 (Reuters) – - World champions New Zealand held off a spirited fight from hosts South Africa to complete their Rugby Championship campaign unbeaten after a 25-24 win at the end of a ferocious physical battle at Newlands on Saturday.
Each side scored three tries in a thrilling spectacle as South Africa restored some pride with a competitive display after being beaten by a record 57-0 scoreline in New Zealand last month.
New Zealand’s tries came from Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane and Damian McKenzie while Ross Cronje, Jean-Luc du Preez and Malcolm Marx scored for the home side.
New Zealand led 8-3 at the break after a bruising first half but were given a scare as Marx’s 79th-minute try, converted by Elton Jantjies, took the hosts to within a single point.
But they held on to finish the southern hemisphere championship with a 100 percent success rate for a second successive year. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Neville Dalton)