Perfect! All Blacks defeat South Africa in thriller for unbeaten end to Rugby Championship campaign

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NZN

Damian McKenzie has spared the All Blacks' blushes, dotting down with 10 minutes remaining as the world champions staggered to a 25-24 Rugby Championship win over South Africa in Cape Town.

In stark contrast to last month's 57-0 demolition job in Albany, the All Blacks simply couldn't get their game going against the old enemy.

Finding the breakdown packed and the Boks' defensive line resolute - and an opposition hooker in Malcolm Marx that played the Test match of his life - the Kiwis bagged three tries but rarely turned on the style.

Only McKenzie's 69th-minute try fitted the bill.

Collecting a David Havili pass on the right edge, fullback McKenzie scampered free of his marker down the outside to score a crucial try.

The five-pointer put the All Blacks up 22-17 and, following a Lima Sopoaga penalty goal, the 14-man Boks hit back through Marx.

But they couldn't do so twice.

The win hands the All Blacks their second consecutive Rugby Championship clean sweep and holds them in good stead ahead of their end-of-year tour.

"Both teams just really threw everything into that," captain Kieran Read said.

"I think we knew that was going to be the case, them at home, a bit of adversity from their point of view, from last time.

"We'll learn from it but when you're in that situation, you've got to remain as calm as you can and I think the boys did that."

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