South Africa beat New Zealand 26-10 on Saturday in the Rugby Championship opener in Mbombela, adding to the woes of the embattled All Blacks.
New Zealand flew to South Africa having lost four of their previous five matches amid calls for coach Ian Foster and captain Sam Cane to be sacked.
Foster and Cane will now know that another de-feat to the arch foes when the teams clash again next Saturday in Johannesburg will almost certainly spell the end for both of them.
The ferocity of the Springboks constantly unset-tled the All Blacks, who were lucky to trail only 10-3 at half-time having been outplayed in the opening 40 minutes.
New Zealand did win more possession in the second half but basic errors cost them and their only try, from replacement loose forward Shannon Frizell, arrived when South Africa were reduced to 14 men.
Wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, scorer of the first South African try, was red-carded on 75 minutes after fouling airborne fly-half Beauden Barrett.
“It was exactly what we wanted. We wanted to be upfront,” said South Africa captain and flanker Siya Kolisi.
“Our high balls were good. We did all the things we wanted to do. We made the tackles, we know how dangerous they can be. They have a couple of players who can break the game open at any time.”
Under-fire Cane said: “A lot of credit has to go to the Springboks, especially the way they played in the first half. They threw a heck of a lot at us. We did well to absorb that but it took a lot out of us.
“They are extremely good at applying pressure. Their kicking game was good, they probably won that as well.”
Hooker Malcolm Marx was warmly greeted by the sell-out 42,367 crowd in recognition of him winning his 50th cap when he ran on to the field ahead of his teammates in the northeastern city.
There was a dramatic start to the southern hemi-sphere championship opener with Springboks scrum-half Faf de Klerk knocked out after his head struck the knee of All Blacks wing Caleb Clarke.—AFP