Rassie Eramus’ side had lost their past two matches and never won at Westpac Stadium, but a display of guts, guile and a splash of luck against an error-strewn All Blacks earned a famous win.
It is the first time South Africa have beaten the world champions in New Zealand since 2009 and also the highest points tally they have racked up as the world’s top-ranked team.
But skipper Kolisi says the win must be the start of what is to come.
Speaking after the match, he said: “I’m really happy. It’s been a tough, tough couple of weeks and the way we carried ourselves and believed in ourselves this week… I have no words, I can’t say more.
“Our main thing is effort with the team. We’ve let ourselves down in the last couple of games [defeats to Argentina and Australia].
“We’ve shown a little bit of what we can do. We have to build on this. All we have is each other away from home and the boys were there for each other.
“Last week we were struggling in the scrums and a little bit in the set-piece. We didn’t do anything differently. It’s just belief.
“I have to give credit to the coaching staff. They’ve kept calm. The mindset they came with, they believed in us.
“All we wanted to do today was give 100 per cent for each other. We gave ourselves a chance and we should be proud of ourselves. There’s so much more to do.”
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 15, 2018
New Zealand captain Kieran Read accepted his side, who would have retained the title with a bonus-point win, were below par in the first half, but had nothing but praise for South Africa.
“You’ve got to give them all the credit in the world, the way they defended in the second half. The boys kept working hard. They defended outstandingly well,” he said.
“They came off the line and really put our skills under pressure. We give them their credit. They deserved the win. They put us under pressure and we didn’t respond the way we need to.
“The first half was disappointing. We were a little bit off the pace. They scored their tries around the outside and stretched us.
“We wanted to build our points through phases and were guilty of maybe not looking after the ball.
“It’s really disappointing. We didn’t want to finish our home season this way. The Championship is still on the line and now we’ve got to finish well on the road. The boys will learn lot of lessons from today.”
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