Rugby Championship
Wallabies steal the win at the death
ESPN Staff
September 6, 2014
Date/Time: Sep 6, 2014, 18:05 local, 10:05 GMT
Venue: Subiaco Oval, Perth
Australia 24 - 23 South Africa
Attendance: 25718  Half-time: 11 - 14
Tries: Folau, Horne
Cons: Foley
Pens: Foley 4
Tries: Hendricks
Pens: Steyn 6
Wallabies' fullback Israel Folau celebrates a try, Australia v South Africa, Rugby Championship, Patersons Stadium, Perth, September 6, 2014
Israel Folau crashed over early for the Wallabies
© Getty Images

Australia have stolen a one-point win over South Africa, Rob Horne crashing over and Bernard Foley converting with just two minutes to play at Patersons Stadium in Perth.

The Wallabies made the perfect start to the game when Israel Folau crashed over in the opening minute, but they were their own worst enemies with a string of cheap penalties and basic errors in the ensuing 78 minutes and they claimed the victory only after Spingboks winger Bryan Habana was sin-binned in controversial fashion in his 100th Test appearance. Habana was cruelly adjudged to have tackled Adam Ashley-Cooper high in stopping the Wallabies winger, and the home side scored 10 points in his absence. Habana said simply: "The yellow card probably cost the team a little bit. I probably have to look at myself and where I went wrong."

Australia were camped in the Springboks's 22 in the final minutes, but they must have thought they had blown their opportunity when they were penalised hard on attack. South Africa failed to find touch from the penalty, however, and Australia attacked again through New South Wales Waratahs' Super Rugby-winning heroes Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Folau and Horne, who stepped inside his defender to cross for the decisive try.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper crashes through the Springboks' defence © Getty Images

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said he was "so proud of the guys to get through that tonight".

"We played some really food play in the end. Too many penalties in the start; easy, soft penalties and they kept punishing us; Morne can kick them from anywhere. But with ball in hand - first half and second half - it was nice."

Ewen McKenzie lamented, in particular, the string of penalties conceded in the second half after squaring the ledger. "We had the ball and gave it promptly back to them five or six occasions in a row so we played the whole game in front of our goalposts. The scoreboard was getting away from us but we worked out how to get back in there."

But the coach was happy with the response of his team after their previous humbling by the All Blacks. "After the loss in Auckland, we needed to show some character. It wasn't an extravagant scoreboard, but winning's no easy feat and to come from behind's even better."

The Wallabies needing a good start after their demoralising loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland two weeks ago, and they got it when Foley and Matt Toomua linked to open the South African defence for Folau to claim his 15th Test try. But the Springboks stuck to their kicking-based game plan, and it caused the Wallabies plenty of headaches that resulted in penalties, six of which Steyn kicked for goals.

The Springboks showed they could also attack with ball in hand, launching a fine attack featuring slick passing to put winger Cornal Hendricks in for his fourth Test try, but they produced too little and, like the Wallabies, basic errors were their undoing..

Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said: "Credit to Australia; they fought right to the end and scored a fantastic try at the end so well done to them." De Villiers lamented the yellow card for Habana, saying "it was a bit tough to defend with 14 at the end", but he accepted that "a couple of mistakes cost us ... second half we made some crucial errors and crucial times".

Australia 24-23 South Africa (video available only in Australia)
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