Tri Nations 2000
Australia heap woe on Springboks
July 29, 2000
Report Match details
Date/Time: Jul 29, 2000, 20:00 local, 10:00 GMT
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Australia 26 - 6 South Africa
Attendance: 77048  Half-time: 19 - 6
Tries: Mortlock, Paul
Cons: Mortlock 2
Pens: Mortlock 4
Pens: van Straaten 2
Australia wing Stirling Mortlock in action during a Tri Nations Test match at Stadium Australia, Sydney. July 29 2000
Stirling Mortlock weighed in with a 21-point haul at Stadium Australia
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Winger Stirling Mortlock has booted Springbok rugby to a new low with 21-point effort in the Wallabies' 26-6 Tri Nations victory at Sydney's Stadium Australia.

With Matt Burke mounting a serious challenge to Mortlock's position as Australian kicker, the Brumbies' winger punished South Africa for their poor discipline at the breakdown. Mortlock has now scored 92 points in just five Tests.

The victory has kept the Wallabies Tri-Nations hopes alive, while the Springboks will be returning home to a hostile reception after four successive defeats.

For the Wallabies it was a fine way to say farewell to three of their greatest players with flanker David Wilson, prop Richard Harry and possibly inside-centre Jason Little playing their last games in the green and gold on Australian soil.

It was a disappointing first half for South Africa after a promising start from the kick-off. The Springboks put together eight phases and had returned the ball over halfway before they were penalised for the first of many infringements at the breakdown.

The Springboks did not look like scoring in the first half after costly errors at the breakdown ensured the Wallabies were always going to dominate possession and territory. And despite the anticipated commitment, things were not much better for the Springboks in the second half with errors again dominating their play.

The Wallaby defence was back to its impregnable best and rarely looked like crumbling against a side that completely lacked vision in attack. Flyhalf Braam van Straaten seemed to be on a personal crusade in the early stages after a week of criticism, but faded and again offered little guidance. And the use of Pieter Rossouw first off the ruck was poor to say the least.

When Jeremy Paul's try gave Australia a 26-6 lead with 20 minutes remaining, the Wallabies would have fancied their chances to score two more tries for a bonus point. It was not to be, however they will still head to Wellington slightly battered and bruised but their spirits high for the return game against the All Blacks.

Mortlock and van Straaten shared two penalty goals each in the opening 20 minutes as the Wallabies weathered the Springboks' early onslaught. Mortlock finally put the Wallabies ahead in the 25th minute when he was on the end of a smart looping movement in the Wallaby backline from a 10m scrum - the sort of movement that South Africa would dearly love to perform themselves without error.

Mortlock added two more penalties before half-time and with a 19-6 advantage at the break the Wallabies had the game in hand.

South Africa made another strong start in the second half and had solid platform to attack just 10m out after eight minutes. However, Rossouw hesitated when he should have delivered quick ball out wide and was driven backwards by the defence before losing possession. The moment typified the Springbok's indecisive performance in attack.

Paul put the game beyond doubt for the Wallabies in the 61st minute, but it will probably be the easiest try he will ever score with all credit going to Little. Replacement No.8 Toutai Kefu burst through the Springbok defence 40m out and offloaded to Little, who turned Rossouw around in defence only to be stopped just short of the line. Momentum carried him over and Paul, following through in support, simply had to place his hand on the ball to score.

AUSTRALIA 26 (Stirling Mortlock, Jeremy Paul tries, Stirling Mortlock 4 pen goals 2 goals) bt SOUTH AFRICA 6 (Braam van Straaten 2 pen goals) at Stadium Australia. Crowd: 77,048. Referee: Ed Morrison (England).

Australia - Chris Latham; Stirling Mortlock, Daniel Herbert, Jason Little (Rod Kafer 78), Joe Roff (Ben Tune 63); Stephen Larkham, George Gregan; Jim Williams (Toutai Kefu 46), David Wilson, Mark Connors (Matt Cockbain 59), John Eales (capt), David Giffin, Fletcher Dyson (Glenn Panoho 70), Michael Foley (Jeremy Paul 40), Richard Harry.

South Africa - Thinus Delport; Breyton Paulse, Robbie Fleck, De Wet Barry, Pieter Rossouw; Braam Van Straaten (Percy Montgomery 67), Werner Swanepoel (Joost van der Westhuizen 66); Andre Vos (capt), Andre Venter, Corne Krige, Mark Andrews (Warren Brosnihan 56), Albert Van Den Berg, Cobus Visagie (Ollie Le Roux 63), Charle Marais (John Smit 65), Robbie Kempson.


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