All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said that his side had to "dig deep" to overcome the Springboks 38-27 at Ellis Park in Saturday's epic contest.
New Zealand, who crossed for five tries on the day, were down to fourteen men for a quarter of the game due to two yellow cards in Jo'burg.
"We had to dig deep, both teams came here willing to play," McCaw told reporters after the superb Rugby Championship-sealing win.
"We had 20 minutes with 14 men, add into that a bit of travel, it was a very satisfying win.
"Going behind we could easily have got flustered, but the guys hung in there. We took our chances really well and there were times when we were under a lot of pressure and then got a turnover."