A Dan Carter drop goal ultimately proved the crucial difference as defending champions New Zealand beat South Africa 20-18 at Twickenham stadium on Saturday to reach a second successive World Cup final.

The 33-year-old's kick at the beginning of the second half set the All Blacks' comeback in motion after indiscipline had left them trailing 12-7 at the break

Minutes later Beauden Barrett scored his first World Cup try - converted by Carter - to put the All Blacks 17-12 up and back in control.

Carter added a further penalty after the Springboks had hit back through Handre Pollard and, despite Patrick Lambie kicking a further three points, they held on to reach next Saturday's final.  

"If you look at the end of the first half it was the discipline that was keeping the Springboks in the game," said captain Richie McCaw, whose team has now won a record 13 World Cup matches in succession.

"Sometimes when you face adversity and you get down to 14 you find a little bit extra and everyone had to make up for that.

"We held our composure well and had to push the greasy ball and the points came. 

"We'd been saying that much ourselves all week, up against the old foe who would bring everything.

"We didn't get any surprises. We had to bring everything and dig as deep as we could to get the result.

"It's one of those tests it's great to be part of and to come out the right side of. If you were going to say what it would be like beforehand we could not have predicted that."