The All Blacks face the Springboks in Durban on Sunday as the world champions look to continue their fine run in 2016.
Facing the ;Boks in South Africa is no easy task and looks to be the biggest challenge facing the All Blacks this season. The Herald looks back on five recent clashes between the two sides that became instant classics.
2009 Tri Nations: South Africa 32 New Zealand 29
Victor Matfield with a South African flag after his side's 2009 victory in Hamilton. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The last time the All Blacks were defeated on home soil, a streak that has now turned into 44 straight victories. Both sides scored two tries while All Blacks first five-eighth Daniel Carter landed seven-from-seven shots at goal.
But his return from injury fell short of the combined goalkicking prowess of Springboks first five-eighth Morne Steyn and fullback Francois Steyn, the latter of whom unleashed three booming penalties in the first spell. Morne Steyn put the Boks up 32-22 with 10 minutes remaining before All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw gave his side some hope with a try in the 78th minute. South Africa held on however for their ninth win over the All Blacks in New Zealand. It completed a three-test sweep over the All Blacks in 2009 following victories in Bloemfontein and Durban and secured the Springboks' third Tri-Nations title.
2010 Tri Nations: New Zealand 29, South Africa 22
After a Tri Nations start that included three home wins and victory against the Wallabies in Melbourne, the true test for the 2010 All Blacks was how they would do in the white-hot atmosphere of 94,000 fans at FNB Stadium in Soweto.
The All Blacks' 14th straight win looked unlikely after Dan Carter missed a penalty from a handy position while trailing 22-17 with eight minutes remaining but Richie McCaw tied the match up a few minutes later with a controversial try. Then with time almost up Ma'a Nonu broke up the middle of the field from New Zealand's own half, ran through a tackle of South African skipper John Smit, playing in his 100th test, and found substitute Israel Dagg out wide who crossed the line in the 80th minute to give New Zealand a famous win.
2013 Rugby Championship: New Zealand 38, South Africa 27
Beauden Barrett in action against South Africa in 2013. Photo / Greg Bowker
One of the finest tests in rugby history led by a truly great performance from No. 8 Kieran Read (he got a perfect 10 in the Herald ratings). The Herald's Wynne Gray wrote "no modern test has delivered as much quality and controversy." From sin bin rulings to the All Blacks supplying an incorrect team sheet, this nine try thriller belongs in the hall of fame. Beauden Barrett was like super slippery soap in scoring the bonus point try which clinched the title. Rugby doesn't get better than this as the All Blacks hurtled to their first win at the ground in 16 years.
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2014 Rugby Championship: South Africa 27, New Zealand 25
Patrick Lambie of South Africa celebrates after scoring the match winning penalty. Photo / Getty
Another gripping contest which showcased an emerging creative spirit from the Springboks. The home side was rampant in the first half, the All Blacks defiant in halting the onslaught in the second. In keeping with the history of these two famed rugby warriors, controversy reigned. Pat Lambie's massive winning penalty came thanks to a contentious high tackle decision against Liam Messam. Referee Wayne Barnes was coerced into the ruling by the crowd's reaction to big screen replays, a dodgy method which produced a fair result.
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2015 Rugby World Cup semifinal: New Zealand 20 South Africa 18
Jerome Kaino on his way to score in the corner against South Africa. Photo / Brett Phibbs
A brilliant show of composure from the All Blacks has allowed them to hold off the Springboks in a gripping World Cup semifinal in which either team could have won in the final seconds. The Springboks put in a typically defiant performance and almost, almost, got home.
It was an excruciating match to watch for the All Blacks supporters in the crowd of 80,000 - and there were a lot of them. Memories from the final of 2011 were never far away. And while they scored the only tries of the match - through Jerome Kaino in the right corner in the first half and Beauden Barrett in the left corner in the second, they simply couldn't break free. Dan Carter composure with the boot led the All Blacks in a strong second half display after they trailed 12-7 at halftime.