Johannesburg - A great last-quarter comeback gave South Africa a 32-26 second Test victory over Ireland in Johannesburg on Saturday that levelled the series with one match left.
As it happened: Springbok v Ireland, second Test
Trailing by 16 points with 20 minutes to go, the Springboks scored three tries to triumph after the Irish had built a 19-3 half-time advantage
Centre Damian de Allende scored the match-winning try five minutes from time when he brushed off two tackles to dot down and Elton Jantjies converted before adding a penalty.
The third, series-deciding Test will be next Saturday in Port Elizabeth.
"Thanks to the hard work from the guys," said South Africa skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss. "They put up their hands and showed a lot of character.
"We had it tough last week when losing in Cape Town so thanks to our supporters today.
"There were a lot of opportunities that we created, but did not finish.
"We need to get a ruthless mindset to get more points on the board. There is still a lot to work on.
"This weekend, we will have another hard look at ourselves and be better in the third Test."
Ireland skipper and hooker Rory Best said: "We still have our eyes on the series. We made lots of mistakes during the second half."
Ireland led 19-3 at half-time and South Africa were booed off the field after 40 minutes in which they took the lead and were then repeatedly penalised, giving Jackson opportunities to build a big lead.
Jantjies, who had been told by coach Allister Coetzee to 'boss' the match, slotted a long-range penalty on four minutes to give the Springboks an early lift in a chilly, near-full Ellis Park stadium.
But those points were to prove the only ones of the half for the twice world champions with Jantjies failing to score from two kickable penalties within a few minutes around the half-hour mark.
The first struck a post and rebounded into play while the second drifted left and wide at a time when the Ireland were already 12-3 ahead.
Those Irish points all came from the boot of Jackson, who contributed 16 points to the shock triumph in Cape Town last weekend - the first over the Springboks on South African soil in eight attempts.
Offered four penalty opportunities, the playmaker took them all after 11, 15, 23 and 28 minutes as South Africa paid a heavy price for a string of infringements.
It got worse for the Springboks six minutes before half-time when the vulnerability of winger Lwazi Mvovo under the high ball was brutally exposed.
He failed to deal with a lofted kick, Irish winger Andrew Trimble skilfully tapped the ball back and several pairs of hands took it forward before lock Devin Toner barged over.
Jackson converted before, given a fifth penalty shot, missed to the left and his first failure of the Test was greeted with ironic cheers from many in the crowd.
It was a nightmare half for South Africa, who never threatened to score a try, repeatedly lost the ball in contact and booted numerous aimless tactical kicks into the Irish half.
The Springboks showed much more fire early in the second half, but it was Jackson who came closest to scoring, narrowly missing his sixth penalty attempt.
Winger Ruan Combrinck, a half-time replacement for Mvovo, finally gave the frustrated crowd something to cheer when he dived over in the corner after an electric break by full-back Willie le Roux.
Jantjies converted to trim the gap to nine points only for Ireland to hit back within two minutes as No. 8 Jamie Heaslip claimed a pushover try off a line-out and Jackson converted.
A scoring burst brought a third try within nine minutes as substitute No 8 Warren Whiteley went over for the Springboks but Jantjies could not convert, leaving Ireland 26-15 ahead.
But as the match entered the closing stages, the momentum was with the Springboks and lock Pieter-Steph du Toit scored beside the post, Jantjies converted and the Irish lead was down to four points.
De Allende then scored to give South Africa a dramatic triumph.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Rudy Paige 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Ruan Combrinck
15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Rhys Ruddock, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Jack McGrath
Substitutes: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran