All Blacks 20 South Africa 18
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.
Steve Hansen's men are in the final and with a show of defending their title after an unbelievably tense match. The Springboks, who got to this point with their narrow win over Wales in the quarter-final, put in a typically defiant performance and almost, almost, got home.
The All Blacks had to survive the sinbinning of loose forward Jerome Kaino two minutes from halftime, but they hung in there, just as the Boks did when Bryan Habana was yellow carded in the second half for a cynical slap down when the All Blacks were on attack.
This 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 four years ago were never far away. And while they scored the only tries of the match - through 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.
Time and again the Boks came back, helped in part by the mistakes of the All Blacks but also the almost constant whistle of Jerome Garces.
The penalty count was 9-3 to the Boks in the first half, and while the All Blacks were beginning to win the kicking duel, the South Africans' defence kept them in it. It was desperate and at times brutal stuff. With the All Blacks behind 7-12 at the break, and with Kaino off, things were looking a little dicey, but the men in black never wavered.
A brilliant dropped goal from Dan Carter from a messy lineout was a timely boost. Like his teammates, Carter didn't reach the heights of last weekend's fiesta against France, but his goalkicking was excellent - he missed only one shot - and his tactical kicking allowed his side to gradually gain the upper hand.
At 20-15, with Sonny Bill Williams beginning to cause mayhem after replacing Ma'a Nonu, the All Blacks looked set for the win.
Barrett's try, brilliantly converted by Carter, was good value for the All Blacks' advantage in territory and possession, but Pat Lambie's penalty narrowed the gap and then poor Sam Cane knocked the ball on to shift the pressure back on his side.
Unfortunately for the loose forward, on for Kaino, he did it again as the All Blacks ran down the final minutes. Luckily for him and his team, they survived.
These two teams are close off the field - they will share a beer after this armwrestle, but on it they are the fiercest of enemies. Skipper Richie McCaw complained of being grabbed around the neck, and Schalk Burger was penalised for a shoulder charge on Ma'a Nonu.
The All Blacks reserves again provided the impetus for this victory - just as they did all those weeks ago in their first pool match against Argentina. But they couldn't have got far without fullback Ben Smith, an absolute champion for his side with his handling under the high ball as the rain set in on a cold and damp afternoon.
They didn't provide the fireworks of last weekend in Cardiff, but they are in the final against either Argentina or Australia, and that's all that matters.
All Blacks 20 (Jerome Kaino, Beauden Barrett tries; Dan Carter 2 cons, dropped goal, pen
South Africa 18 (Handre Pollard 5 pens, Pat Lambie pen
Halftime: SA 12-7
By Patrick McKendry at Twickenham