South Africa beat New Zealand 26-10 on Sunday morning AEST in the Rugby Championship opener in Mbombela, adding to the woes of the embattled All Blacks.
New Zealand flew to South Africa after losing four of their previous five games, amid calls to sack coach Ian Foster and captain Sam Cane.
Foster and Cane will now know that another defeat to the nemesis when the teams clash again next Saturday in Johannesburg will almost certainly spell the end for both of them.
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The ferocity of the Springboks constantly confused the All Blacks, who were lucky enough to trail just 10-3 at halftime after being outplayed in the opening 40 minutes.
New Zealand gained more possession in the second half but basic errors cost them and their only try, from substitute loose striker Shannon Frizell, arrived as South Africa was reduced to 14 men.
Winger Kurt-Lee Arendse, goalscorer of the first South African try, was shown a red card for 75 minutes after an error in the air half of Beauden Barrett.
“It was exactly what we wanted. We wanted to lead the way,” said South African captain and flanker Siya Kolisi.
“Our high balls were good. We’ve done all the things we wanted to do. We made the tackles, we know how dangerous they can be. They have a few players who can break open the game at any time.”
Under-fire Cane said: “The Springboks have a lot of credit, especially the way they played in the first half. They threw a lot at us. We did a good job of absorbing that, but it took a lot out of us.
“They are very good at applying pressure. Their trap game was good, they probably won.”
South African hooker Malcolm Marx was greeted warmly by the sold-out 42,367 crowd in recognition of winning his 50th cap as he raced onto the field in front of his teammates in the northeastern city.
There was a dramatic start to the Southern Hemisphere championship opener when Springboks scrum half Faf de Klerk was knocked out after his head hit the knee of All Blacks wing Caleb Clarke.
De Klerk had to be stretched out but received a sustained round of applause when he appeared on the sidelines midway through the opening half after failing a head injury assessment test.
The inexperienced Jaden Hendrikse, who made his debut in a home series against Wales last month, replaced De Klerk just 43 seconds from the game.
Excited South Africa dominated early possession and territory and continued into the eight minutes as Arendse scored his first try for the reigning world champions in his second appearance.
The New Zealand defense failed to grab a loft kick from handre Pollard and center Lukhanyo Am fed Arendse, who ran over the tryline.
The unpredictable goal-kicker Pollard did well to convert from the sidelines and increased the lead to 10 points in 22 minutes by placing a penalty from close range.
There was a sudden change of momentum as halftime approached, with New Zealand, aided by a more stable scrum, awarding four penalties in quick succession.
Fullback Jordie Barrett, one of three brothers in the All Blacks starting line-up, converted one of the penalties in 36 minutes to narrow the gap to seven points and it remained 10-3 until halftime.
Leading up to the match, Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber had emphasized the need to convert dominance into points and must have been disappointed that his team was only seven points ahead.
However, he would have been delighted with Marx’s performance as the Japan-based frontrunner won several turnovers and played constantly in attacks against the All Blacks.
In the second half Pollard kicked two penalties and a drop goal to give the home side a 19-3 lead before both teams scored late tries.
Frizell ducked into the corner and fellow substitute Richie Mo’unga converted, then substitute Willie le Roux scored wide of the post and Pollard converted for a personal total of 16 points.
Originally published as ‘Pure Domination’: Springbok’s triumph adds to the woes of the embattled All Blacks