Australia 21-6 South Africa, Tri-Nations, September 5
Deans hails morale-boosting win
September 5, 2009
James O'Connor is mobbed by his Wallaby team-mates after scoring the game-deciding try © Getty Images
Australia boss Robbie Deans was quick to express his pride after seeing his young Wallabies claim a resounding 21-6 over reigning world champions South Africa on Saturday.
The Aussies went into the game on the back of six successive Tri-Nations defeats but thoroughly outplayed the Springboks, who had arrived in Brisbane boasting a 100 percent record in this year's tournament.
The Wallabies showed the greater hunger, enthusiasm and endeavour throughout and avenged their defeat to the South Africans in Perth seven days previously thanks to second-half tries from Adam Ashley-Cooper and James O'Connor.
After defeating the previously thought unstoppable Springboks with a side with an average age of just 24, Deans now believes that the negativity that has been surrounding the Wallabies thus far this season has been well and truly vanquished.
"It will be a fillip for this group and that was evident in the last 10 minutes. We had a few things go against us but they kept their heads up and they played for the full 80 minutes," the Kiwi said at his post-match press conference.
"It was evident at the end that the confidence was starting to kick in, and the spirit was great. We took them (South Africa) outside their comfort zone, which we haven't been able to do previously."
The Springboks, who could have clinched the Tri-Nations title with a win, produced a surprisingly listless performance at the Suncorp Stadium. However, head coach Peter de Villiers wasn't rushing to press the panic button when he arrived for his post-match grilling.
"Some you win, some you lose," he said. "We had some moments of brilliance but we weren't clinical enough in our finishing. Well done to the Wallabies; they were brilliant at keeping us under pressure."
Springboks captain John Smit did admit, though, that he was slightly perturbed by the lacklustre nature of his side's display. However, the World Cup winner was taking heart from the fact that South Africans have another opportunity to claim the Tri-Nations title when they travel to Hamilton next weekend to take on the All Blacks.
"The intensity just wasn't quite what it should have been; I'm not sure why," Smit said. "They beat us at our game. They played the same way as us, they just did it better.
"We knew they were going to come out firing. No team in this competition loses four in a row and just turns up. But the good thing is we still have our fate in our own hands."