South Africa had the better of the opening exchanges and led 3-0 through a Handre Pollard penalty as the All Blacks came under sustained pressure. Pollard then missed a relatively easy penalty, before the All Blacks ripped control of the first half away from the Springboks.
Faf de Klerk’s loose pass provided the opportunity for an All Blacks breakaway and after Richie Mo’unga’s penalty leveled the score, tries from George Bridge and Scott Barrett must have left South Africa wondering just how the game had run away from them so quickly.
To their immense credit, the Springboks found their way back into the game after the interval. Cheslin Kolbe’s strong running began to trouble New Zealand, while Pieter-Steph du Toit’s try and a Pollard drop goal reduced the deficit to 17-13.
South Africa were on top but the All Blacks weathered the storm and two penalties from Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett enabled the world champion to maintain its record of never having lost a World Cup group match.