1 Oct 2017

Draw gifts All Blacks rugby championship

8:00 am on 1 October 2017

The All Blacks have retained the Rugby Championship title in the wake of Australia and South Africa's 27-all draw in Bloemfontein.

The draw means no matter the outcome of this morning's All Blacks-Argentina test in Buenos Aires, the All Blacks retain the title.

In an intense battle at the Free State Stadium, Springboks five-eighth Elton Jantjies pushed a last-gasp penalty attempt wide after a controversial decision from referee Ben O'Keefe to penalise Marika Koroibete.

O'Keefe appeared to miss two clear forward passes in the lead-up to the play.

It ensured another frustrating Rugby Championship result for the two sides for the second time in less than a month, after they fought out a 23-23 draw in Perth.

Elton Jantjies missed a late penalty which could have given the Springboks victory.

Elton Jantjies missed a late penalty which could have given the Springboks victory. Photo: Photosport

Both sides scored three tries and two penalties apiece and there was plenty of enterprising play, with the lead changing hands four times in a cracking second half.

Fijian-born Koroibete scored twice in his first Test start, restoring Australia's lead on both occasions.

Bernard Foley set up both of Koroibete's tries, the first with a sizzling run that sliced the South African line and the second with a dazzling cut-out ball.

But as bodies tired in the testing high-altitude conditions, neither team could find a way to put their noses in front.

The Wallabies held a three-point lead with 10 minutes to play until Jantjies levelled the scores with a spectacular 49-metre penalty.

Australia were up 13-10 at the break but were lucky to have all their men on the field.

Israel Folau somehow escaped sanction for pulling the hair of Springbok winger Dillyn Leyds in a tackle just before halftime to breathe fire into an already tense encounter.

Folau opened the scoring in the 10th minute, finishing off a sizzling set-piece play from a scrum after a smart inside ball from Foley.

It was Folau's 11th try of the year - the most by an Australian player, overtaking Lote Tuqiri's previous record set in 2004.

The Springboks soon found a reply through prop Ruan Dreyer, who crawled over next to the right post to level the scores at 7-7.

Defensive frailties soon started to open up for Australia, which allowed the South Africans back in the match.

They struck through Jan Serfontein in the 43rd minute and Courtnall Skosan six minutes later, but Koroibete provided a response on each occasion.

It leaves the Wallabies with plenty to stew over on their long flight to South America for next weekend's clash with Argentina.