Player ratings: Pure gold
OPINION: After recording a fantastic last-minute win over the world champion Springboks last week on the Gold Coast, the pressure was on to see whether Dave Rennie’s Wallabies could this week back up the result in the return fixture in Brisbane.
The two sides tested each other early on, trading pressure, with the Springboks pack threatening their physical presence at the set-piece.
The breakthrough came just after 12 minutes when South Africa’s talismanic scrumhalf, Francois de Klerk, received a yellow for killing the ball.
With the game opening up in the last twenty minutes the Wallabies capitalized expertly, demonstrating pace, precision and flair in equal quantity.
Two tries for Marika Koroibete, one following a superb offload from Taniela Tupou saw the Wallabies push out to a 30-17 lead.
Tom Raine rates the Australian players!
1. James Slipper – 6.5/10
Carried hard when asked and played a key role in laying an effective foundation for Australia’s attack. Enjoyed a battle with Frans Malherbe at scrum time. Off after 55 minutes.
2. Folau Fainga’a – 7.5
Worked well in combination with Slipper and Tupou in the front row. Made a vital tackle at lineout time with the try-line beckoning to a rampaging Eben Etzebeth, drawing a relieving penalty. Didn’t miss at lineout time and made an energetic defensive contribution. Off after 55.
3. Taniela Tupou – 9
Another night of hugely effective ball running from the 25-year-old, as he really earned his starting jersey, almost playing the game in its entirety. A constant metre-eater no matter how many defenders he found in front of him – one such run crucial in the build-up to Australia’s second try. Was on hand with a bit of magic to set up Koroibete’s first try and was in the thick of the Wallabies defensive efforts in the closing stages.
4. Izack Rodda – 6
Put in a valiant defensive effort against arguably the best rolling maul in world rugby, but often came off second best. Did grow into his work as the match went on, providing an important defensive effort. Off after 64 minutes.
5. Matt Philip – 7
Looked to get stuck in around the park all game. In his eagerness was penalized twice early on for avoidable penalties. However, tackled very well, registering the second most in his pack and proved a solid lineout option all game. Came up with a huge defensive play as the Springboks lineout maul threatened his try line with ten minutes left on the clock.
6. Lachlan Swinton – 5.5
Chased hard off every kick off, as he looked to provide a dominant defensive effort. Very nearly got it very wrong à la his Wallabies debut with a tackle on Duane Vermeulen and will be glad to have only seen yellow where referee Matthew Carley initially seemed keen on red. Off on 48 minutes.
7. Michael Hooper (c) – 9.5
Led the defensive charge for his side on a day where he became the Wallabies’ most capped captain. Seemed to be everywhere on the field as he took the game to afearsome Springbok pack and brought his team with him to new levels. Made the most tackles of any man on the park and popped up with a vital turnover as the Springboks camped in the Wallabies’ 22 for the last ten minutes.
8. Rob Valetini – 8
A very solid showing from the 23-year-old. A constant presence on the pitch, adding his bulk to the Wallabies’ lineout defence and followed his captain’s lead in the tackling department. Also proved very useful in attack, showcasing a great offloading ability.
9. Nic White – 7
Showed organisational nous early on in the piece and an effective kicking ability both in exiting and attacking. Enjoyed the duel with Faf de Klerk but guilty of a few errors as the game became looser – not providing the required cover in behind as Lukhanyo Am dotted down.
10. Quade Cooper – 8.5
Showed his class in backing up his superb performance from last week. Crucially enabled himself time on the ball and rode the rhythm of the game, adapting as it opened up. Kicked cleverly, keeping the ball in play to deny the Springboks lineout opportunities and impressively absorbed the pressure of Damian de Allende and co all game. Kicked fluidly off the tee.
11. Marika Koroibete – 8
Another performance that was full of direct running from the man heading to Japan in 2022. Showcased great variation in his passing game – a particular highlight being a superbly timed offload to get the assist for Ikitau’s second score. Put in a hardy defensive effort and was rewarded with a brace.
12. Samu Kerevi – 9
Happily provided himself as direct and powerful running option all game, hitting the right lines and so often managing to free his arms in contact to provide that crucial offload. Has developed a great line of communication between himself, Cooper and Ikitau in such a short space of time. Popped up to draw out a game winning turnover with two minutes remaining.
13. Len Ikitau – 8.5
A fantastic performance from the 22-year-old in this, just his 7th test. Complimented Kerevi in attack and brought energy to every aspect of his game, running up the most metres of any Wallaby on the night. Faded brilliantly off a pass to beat two players on the way to the line for his first score. Was then the beneficiary of a intricately worked backline move involving Banks and Cooper for his second. Tackled brilliantly and showed co-ordination aplenty in defence with Kerevi.
14. Andrew Kellaway – 7.5
Showed composure early on when put under pressure and continued in that vein throughout, only being caught out by the 50:22 once. Made a crucial tackle when faced with a three-on-one and fronted up against Makazole Mapimpi all game. Beat the joint most defenders for his team.
15. Tom Banks (18 Tests) – 6.5
Made sure to find touch with his penalties, ensuring the Wallabies had an attacking platform to work off. Showed directness with ball in hand and unlucky to retire early with an injured arm tackling S’busiso Nkosi.
16. Feleti Kaitu’u – 6
On after 55 minutes for his second test. Was rewarded in going for the big play with just his first throw but missed a few from there on in, succumbing to a few steals as the Springboks heaped on the pressure.
17. Angus Bell – 6.5
On after 55 minutes. Brought a huge defensive effort following his introduction and took the battle to the Springbok ‘bomb squad.’ On hand to provide Tupou with the quick ball he needed to set up Koroibete’s first.
18. Tom Robertson – N/A
On after 78 minutes.
19. Darcy Swain – 6
On after 64 minutes. Got readily involved with the necessary defence at lineout time and played his part as a finisher.
20. Pete Samu – 7
On after 49 minutes. Provided fantastic impact, busying himself in defence and attack. Offered great support to Kerevi to benefit from one of his offloads and looked to keep the play alive.
21. Tate McDermott – 6
The perfect environment for him to come into with an hour gone and play just beginning to become fast and loose. Instantly kept the Springbok defence honest with darting runs and kept the pace of play rapid. Was put under severe pressure late on but hung on to see the game out.
22. Reece Hodge – 6
On early for the injured Banks after 28 minutes. Had a torrid time under the high ball in the first half as de Klerk peppered him with a range of tricky kicks. Turned it around in the second 40, providing his team with a couple of important plays, particularly in the last ten minutes.
23. Jordan Petaia – N/A
On after 72 minutes.