Boks end their drought Down Under
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT: The Springboks produced a ruthless performance to end their almost decade-long drought in Sydney, beating the Wallabies 24-8 on Saturday.
The Springboks had not tasted victory in Australia since 2013, spanning eight previous Tests.
But the four tries to one win ended the dire run to avenge their 17-25 loss in Adelaide last week.
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Coach Jacques Nienaber’s men went to the break 12-3 in front after tries from Damian de Allende and Canan Moodie on his debut, before Franco Mostert and Makazole Mapimpi added to the tally after the restart in a much-improved display.
It elevated them to joint second on the Rugby Championship ladder, a point behind leaders New Zealand with two games to play, both against Argentina, who were thrashed 53-3 by the All Blacks in the earlier game.
“Tough week last week, but grateful for the way the boys stood up and for the support back at home,” said South Africa captain Siya Kolisi.
“It was the same as last week, but we just took our opportunities this week. It’s been a long drought without a win here and it’s a great thing for us.”
Defeat left Australia sharing the second spot on nine points, with Dave Rennie’s inconsistent team again failing to back up a win, a trait that has dogged them all season.
They now face an ominous double-header against the All Blacks in their drive to win the southern hemisphere title for the first time since 2015.
“We really wanted to build a bit of momentum. That’s probably why I’m so gutted right now, lost a game for our country and it doesn’t get any easier,” said Australia skipper James Slipper.
“We’re going into the Bledisloe [Cup] now, so it’s going to be two tough games coming up. We’ll pick ourselves up. We’ve got a good group here and we’ll rip in.”
In Adelaide the Springboks created plenty of opportunities, but failed to convert them into points – a problem they focused on in training during the week.
And they were a far more disciplined unit at a sold-out Allianz Stadium.
Nienaber made eight changes to the starting side – four injury-enforced – and in wet conditions they came out firing, hammering the Australian line in the early stages.
The pressure saw them draw first blood on eight minutes when De Allende barged over for a try, sparked by Damian Willemse taking a quick tap penalty and splitting the defence.
Willemse added the extras and adding insult to injury, Wallaby Matt Philip was yellow carded for failing to retreat 10 metres at the award of the penalty.
South Africa was playing with real intent, dominating territory, but failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage as Australia’s defence held firm.
It took the Wallabies half an hour to get into the Springbok’s 22 with their first attack ending in a penalty for a high tackle that Noah Lolesio nailed to open their account.
But it was South Africa who were in charge, capping a dominant 40 minutes with another try on the stroke of half-time.
Young wing Moodie, tipped as South Africa’s next big thing, outjumped Marika Koroibete to collect a box kick and effortlessly sprint 40 metres to the line.
They started the second stanza as they finished the first, with a try to flank Mostert inside the opening two minutes, flopping down in the corner to culminate some slick ball movement.
South Africa rubbed salt in Australia’s wounds when Mapimpi crossed in the corner with 10 minutes left, sparking a mass brawl that ended with the try-scorer being yellow carded before Pete Samu scored a consolation try in the dying minutes.
Man of the match: It was a very physical performance from the Springboks. Jasper Wiese was incredible with his strong carries. Damian Willemse is another player who stood out. His kicking is a concern but his open play and defence were good. Our nod this week is Springboks captain Siya Kolisi. The skipper was absolutely amazing, he made three crucial steals and dominated the breakdown. He also led his team very well.
For South Africa:
Tries: De Allende, Moodie, Mostert, Mapimpi
Cons: Willemse, Steyn
Yellow cards: Matt Philip (Australia, 7 – Repeated infringements); Makazole Mapimpi (South Africa, 72 – foul play)
Australia: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 David Porecki, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Jack Gordon, 23 Andrew Kellaway.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Albertus Smith, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Jacobus Reinach, 22 Francois Steyn, 23 Warrick Gelant.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Tual Trainini (France)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)