Springboks fullback Willie le Roux thought he had cost his side the test when he was shown a yellow card in the final quarter on Saturday.

The 29-year-old who plays for English club Wasps is easily the most experienced back in the South African line-up and was recalled to the side only when Rassie Erasmus was appointed head coach.

It was an inspired move by Erasmus, now seven tests into a six-year contract with the Springboks, because before his departure to England le Roux was one of the best attacking fullbacks in the world and it appears he has lost little of his sharpness.

At Westpac Stadium he sent wing Aphiwe Dantyi away for the first of the speedster's two tries and scored one himself four minutes later when capitalising on Jordie Barrett's quick throw-in to Rieko Ioane which went to ground, but le Roux feared the worst when sent from the field for 10 minutes following a ruck infringement on defence deemed cynical by referee Nigel Owens.


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"I was thinking 'am I letting my team down now? If they score now or we lose it's going to be on me because I got a yellow'," he said afterwards. "But luckily it didn't work out like that and I owe the guys a beer."

The relief on the faces on his teammates at the final whistle was plain to see. There were tears, too, but le Roux, while overjoyed at the victory, was composed afterwards as befits a man who has played 48 tests and has experienced the full range of emotions that playing for South Africa can provide.

Asked whether this was the best performance he had been involved in, he said: "There have been quite a few good performances before, but all week we have been saying it was for us; us 23 playing, the management, all the guys travelling with us and training with us. It's just about putting pride back in the jersey and making the people back home proud."

One of the special things about the Boks victory was that it wasn't only based around defence. They scored five tries and made the most of every chance.

"Yes, there are games where you try a lot and it doesn't work out and there are games when you get one or two opportunities and you take them and you win the game," he said. "I think the All Blacks, when they switch on and you lose your concentration for one second, that's when they capitalise. That's why they're so dangerous so you can't give them any space or any opportunities.

"They roll the dice but they've been winning all their games," he said. "It's just about being awake for the scraps and the ball is bouncing.''

Asked if he felt like he had won the lottery when Barrett threw the ball to an exposed Ioane in the middle of the field, he said: "I was actually going for the tackle full-on. I was going down to tackle [Ioane] and I think the ball back-spun into me. Like I said, luck of the bounce. I ran and went to score the try but I thought the touch judge was calling me back or something because I didn't know what was going on, I don't score many tries. It's a nice feeling. Maybe I could say I won the lottery there."

It is likely to be his last appearance in the Rugby Championship. This week he will travel back to the United Kingdom and will probably be playing alongside former All Black Lima Sopoaga for Wasps against Sale Sharks in a Premiership game.

"You never know what might happen after that," he said.