Prior to the match, the Blitzboks had enjoyed four successive wins, beating Samoa, France, Australia and the United States.
After a tight first half, which ended 5-5, the All Blacks booked their place in the final with a breakaway try by Ben Lam.
The Blitzboks drew first blood when Paul Delport dived over in the corner to put the team 5-0 up.
Despite the Blitzboks’s energy and fire – with Bok skipper Frankie Horne making a number of bone-crunching tackles – the New Zealanders equalised after a run by Tomasi Cama set up a try for Kurt Baker.
Bok playmaker Cecil Afrika, who appeared troubled by an old knee injury, was brought off two minutes before the end and not long afterwards Lam sealed victory for his side with an opportunistic try.
Earlier, the South Africans subdued the US 17-7 in a quarterfinal, but the New Zealanders proved far tougher opposition.
The rampant Kiwis, who won last year’s final in South Africa, are now seeking to extend their impressive showing on South African soil to five wins in six tournaments.
New Zealand were forced into a late change with new cap, 18-year-old Waikato player Luke Masirewa, flying in to replace Sherwin Stowers, who failed to recover from a hamstring injury.
In the game against the US, rising Blitzboks star Ruwellyn Isbell scored first, racing through the Americans’ defence after some clever play by Delport.
The US hit back through a try by Nick Edwards, who shrugged off at least four tackles to equalise at 5-5.
Conal Hendricks restored the lead with a powerful run through the heart of the American defence.
Afrika converted to steady the Blitzboks’ nerves and put them 12-7 ahead. The second half was a tightly contested affair, but substitute Cheslin Kolbe, who came on for Delport, broke through and scored, leaving the final tally 17-7.
“It was very disappointing,” Treu said.
“We had our chances and so did they, with the only difference that New Zealand took the one that mattered.
“I cannot fault the commitment of my players. They gave their all.
“It is a pity we could not do it for the crowd who supported us so well.
“At least we finished strongly and gave a good performance in the bronze final.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand crushed France 47-12 in the final to win their first cup title of the season.
Wales beat Fiji 26-14 to win the plate final, Australia defeated Samoa by the same scoreline to secure the bowl title, and Spain thumped Zimbabwe 33-0 to win the shield final.
The fourth leg of the series will be held in Wellington, New Zealand, in February. – additional reporting by Sapa
Article source: http://www.sportlive.co.za/rugby/morerugby/article7479697.ece