Patrick Lambie showed nerves of steel for the Springboks to pot a 55m penalty with two minutes to go to claim a 27-25 win in Johannesburg.
As far as the tournament was concerned this was a dead rubber, with the All Blacks rapping up the title again last week against Argentina.
The Boks held an 11-point lead at one point but it was covered by penalty and then a try from Dane Coles inside the last 10 minutes.
This set the stage for Lambie who got his chance when Liam Messam’s tackle on Schalke Burger was judged too high by referee Wayne Barnes.
“All credit to Pat, it was an unbelievable kick under huge pressure,” said South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer.
“I have been involved in rugby for 30 years and always wondered what it felt like to beat the All Blacks.”
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was gracious after a defeat that may in some way take some pressure off his team coming into the autumn internationals in the northern hemisphere and the World Cup.
“I have no problem with (referee Wayne) Barnes giving the penalty, I don’t think there was intention to hit him high, but he did,” Hansen said.
“It was a great game of rugby and could have gone either way, but my heart tells me the Boks deserved it today.”
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