Dropped scrum-half Aaron Smith was the All Blacks hero on Saturday, coming on to score a game-changing solo try as New Zealand defeated South Africa 21-11 in the Rugby Championship.
The bruising battle in Dunedin kept the hosts unbeaten after four matches while the injury-hit Springboks saw their record slump to one win, a draw and two losses.
Smith, who had been dropped to the bench for breaking team protocol, was introduced for the second half with the All Blacks holding a slender 5-3 lead.
Then midway through the half, with the scores locked at 8-8, he snapped the deadlock with a brilliant solo try when he darted around the side of a ruck and scampered 30 metres to the line.
The All Blacks scored two tries, to Israel Dagg and Smith, while Aaron Cruden kicked three penalties and a conversion.
South Africa's points came from an exceptional try to Bryan Habana and penalties to Morne Steyn and Johan Goosen.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Smith's all-round performance was the response he expected from Smith.
"He really had only one response he could deliver to be satisfied, and that was to come out and play well, and he certainly did that. He scored a great try and he came out and made a difference."
Hansen has never revealed what Smith did to earn the rebuke.
Hansen was not happy with the way the All Blacks started the game, when the South African forwards had control.
"It wasn't the complete performance obviously, but that was a torrid Test match and we had an opposition in the Springboks who were desperate, played with a lot of commitment and physicality."
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said his side had the right plan but did not have the execution.
"We put them under a lot of pressure in the first half especially when it was still 5-3, but you have to convert that pressure into points," he said.
"That's the difference between the sides. Whenever they put pressure on us or got an opportunity, they got points and we didn't."
The win extended the All Blacks' unbeaten run to 14 games, four short of the world record 18 held by Lithuania.
In the first half the Springboks put away their kicking game and took the All Blacks on in the forwards with their confidence growing as they held their own in the bruising opening exchanges.
It kept the visitors within striking range of the posts but the Springbok kickers were woefully off target, being successful with only one of six shots at goal in the first half and two from nine in the match.
When the South Africans resorted to the boot early in the second half, a piece of individual brilliance by Habana produced an immediate try.
The right wing scoring machine charged straight through Cruden, then gathered in his own chip-kick over Richie McCaw's head to score in the corner.
It put South Africa ahead 8-3 with Morne Steyn again off target with the conversion attempt.
While the All Blacks were counting their blessings at the inaccuracy of the Springbok kickers, they were also ruing the visitors' sound discipline.
It was not until the 51st minute that Cruden had his first penalty shot at goal and was successful from 30 metres to level the score at 8-8.
Smith then produced his magical try, which Cruden converted to put the All Blacks out to a 15-8 lead.
South Africa narrowed the gap to 15-11 when replacement fly-half Goosen landed a penalty for his first international points, before Cruden kicked two more penalties for the All Blacks in the closing stages.