Wallabies cruise past deflated Boks
August 23, 2008
Stirling Mortlock crashes over to cap a fine individual try
© Getty Images
Australia broke their South African hoodoo with a victory over the Springboks today which ended the world champions' hopes of Tri-Nations glory.
Victory for the Wallabies was their first on South African soil since 2000 and only their second since 1992, while defeat for the Boks was their third in succession and fourth out of five this season.
The Boks struggled to stamp their authority on a disciplined and controlled Wallaby outfit, and South Africa coach Peter de Villiers will need to stop the rot before next week's return clash at Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg. Australia's win tees up a series decider against New Zealand in Brisbane in September.
With the Boks requiring a bonus point win to stay in contention, the early moments saw some fierce physical exchanges put the Boks on the front foot. Fly half Butch James was noticeably fired up in defence, but a foolish late hit on Australian scrum half Sam Cordingley by prop CJ Van der Linde gifted Matt Giteau the first three points on eight minutes.
The Wallabies began to control possession and following some fine, patient phase play in the South African 22 prop Robinson burrowed over for his first score at test level. Giteau added the extras for a handy 10-0 at the break.
The Boks started well after the break, appearing more structured after Percy Montgomery came on for the out-of-sorts JP Pietersen. Butch James got South Africa on the scoreboard with a penalty for their first score in 125 minutes of Tri-Nations rugby, but the Australians soon extended their lead again.
A cut out pass from the outstanding Giteau found Lote Tuqiri at full pace in the 22 and the Wallaby wing made no mistake in thundering over for their second try. The Boks attacked furiously after conceding the second try and eventually got their reward when Adrian Jacobs went over behind the ruck to score the Boks' first try since their win against New Zealand in Dunedin on July 12.
But all South Africa's good work was undone after they knocked on from kick-off, allowing Stirling Mortlock to scythe his way through on an inside break from the scrum to score a superb try. The Boks got another try back thanks to Jacobs' second of the game, the centre running on to an inside ball from Percy Montgomery before wheeling in the tackle to score.
Despite this late effor the Australians were all but out of sight and never looked in danger of seeing their 12-point cushion diminished in the closing minutes.
South Africa 15 (Adrian Jacobs, tries (2). Butch James, penalty. Percy Motgomery, conversion.)
Australia 27(Benn Robinson try, Lote Tuqiri try, Stirling Mortlock try. Matt Giteau penalties (2), conversions (3))
Half time - 0-10
South Africa: Conrad Jantjes; JP Pietersen, Adrian Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Jongi Nokwe; Butch James, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, CJ van der Linde, Andries Bekker, Victor Matfield (captain), Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies.
Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Brian Mujati, Joe van Niekerk, Luke Watson, Enrico Januarie, Francois Steyn, Percy Montgomery.
Australia: Drew Mitchell; Peter Hynes, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Berrick Barnes, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Sam Cordingley, Wycliff Palu, George Smith, Rocky Elsom, Daniel Vickerman, James Horwill, Matt Dunning, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson
Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Al Baxter, Hugh McMeniman, Phil Waugh, Brett Sheehan, Timana Tahu, Ryan Cross