Boks stumble past Wallabies
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT: The Springboks picked up their third win in the 2018 Rugby Championship after they beat Australia 23-12 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
It was as if Brisbane had come to Port Elizabeth. In Brisbane each side scored two tries, as happened in Port Elizabeth. In Brisbane the second half was a scrappy affair, as it was in Port Elizabeth. In Brisbane the handling was well below international standards, as was the case in Port Elizabeth as well. Lastly, as in Brisbane the home side scored 23 points and won.
With two tries each, kicking counted. South Africa scored 13 points with the boot. Australia scored two and missed kicks worth 11 points.
There was a wise man who said: “If you can’t catch and pass, you can’t play rugby.” There were 22 handling errors in the match and many, many more poor passes that were not counted as errors. Not great.
Much as was the case against the All Blacks two weeks ago, the Springboks lagged behind in possession and territory. The Wallabies enjoyed a 63-37% advantage in both. But again the Springboks made far more tackles, this time 147-71 with Pieter-Steph du Toit again tackling more often than anybody else.
But this match ended without tears, unlike the match in New Zealand. It was not nearly as intensely passionate a match.
The Springboks won the toss and chose the kick-off, looking for a better start than previously and they were gifted a start that was probably beyond their dreams, for inside 30 seconds they scored a try. In Brisbane a weird line-out throw gave the Wallabies a try; in Port Elizabeth it was a weird pass. The Wallabies got the ball from the deep kick-off and, from about 12 metres from his line, Will Genia passed to flyhalf Kurtley Beale, who was about four metres from his goal-line. With his left hand, Beale floated a long pass out towards the far right, but Springbok left wing Aphiwe Dyantyi leapt forward, intercepted the pass and scored. Handré Pollard converted and the Springboks led 7-0.
Matt Toomua missed a fairly regulation penalty after this, the first of three missed Wallaby penalties – two by Toomua and one by Reece Hodge.
Two penalties gave the Springboks a five-metre line-out, but, not for the first time, they lost the five-metre line-out, this time because Adam Coleman won it.
The Wallabies got on the attack from a penalty but when the Springboks got the ball they broke out on the right as Pollard came away with the ball. He gave to Siya Kolisi who strode over 30 metres down the field. He had support but a surprise tackle from behind by Marika Koroibete brought him down. But the Springboks were on the attack.
From a tackle/ruck on their left, Faf de Klerk gave to Pollard who broke past hooker Folau Fainga’a and then through Genia. He passed inside to De Klerk who scored next to the posts. 14-0 after 21 minutes.
The match had largely belonged to the Springboks up till this point but then the Wallabies went through phases and a great long pass by Genia put Hodge in for a try in Dyantyi’s tackle. Toomua missed the conversion. 14-5 after 27 minutes.
There was a wise man who said: “All kicks are bad kicks.” This was certainly the case with the Springboks’ kicking, especially the box kicks which served mainly to bring out the brave skill in Dane Haylett-Petty and create attacking chances for the Wallabies.
De Klerk kicked a box kick, Haylett-Petty caught it and made ground. He gave to speeding Koroibete who gave inside to Genia who ran 23 metres to score in the left corner, whence Toomua converted. 14-12 after 29 minutes.
Koroibete went of for a head injury assessment and Jack Maddox took his place.
Pollard kicked a penalty goal, Hodge missed a kick at goal and Pollard goaled a second penalty. 20-12, which was the half-time score.
The only score in the 40 minutes of the second half was a penalty goal by Pollard early on, which made the score 23-12.
It was a half of many substitutions.
The Wallabies came close to scoring when Hodge had an overlap but an excellent Dyantyi tackle cut him down.
Poor Dyantyi suffered a career-first yellow card at a tackle, punishment for the accumulation of penalties against his team, who were penalised 13 times in the match to the nine of the Wallabies. His infringement was causing a blockage at a tackle involving several players.
During Dyantyi’s absence, with the Springboks down to 14 men, the Wallabies failed to score. Their best chance came when Michael Hooper chipped, and he and Genia chased after the ball. But Malcolm Marx saved.
Man of the Match: There was Dane Haylett-Petty of the Wallabies, who had Springbok boots to thank. Then, too, there were Will Genia and David Pocock, the strong fearless robber king. Of South Africans there was the contribution of Handré Pollard who scored 13 points and made the five that Faf de Klerk scored. 18 points out of 23. Then there was Aphiwe Dyantyi who attacks brilliantly and defends really well. And, as usual, the action man Pieter-Steph du Toit did more than anybody else on the field. But our man of the match this week is the Port Elizabeth crowd – the 42 000 who made the Nelson Mandela Stadium such a wonderful experience, from the singing of the National Anthem when Yvonne Chaka Chaka led them, their own songs, their lively cheerfulness, their enjoyment of the day and their support of their team.
Moment of the Match: Aphiwe Dyantyi’s try when the match had barely started.
Villain of the Match: Nobody at all, on or off the field.
For South Africa:
Tries: Dyantyi, De Klerk
Cons: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 3
Tries: Hodge, Genia
Yellow card: Aphiwe Dyantyi (South Africa, 65 – repeated infringements)
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South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.
Australia: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Rob Simmons, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Jack Maddocks.
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)