Boks run riot against woeful Wallabies
August 30, 2008
South Africa finally hit their stride at Ellis Park, running in eight tries past the Wallabies. Wing Jongi Nokwe made history by crossing the line four times.
The overwhelming question among the 55,000 crowd that streamed away from Ellis Park must have been "What if?" That is because for the first time in this Tri Nations the Springboks threw off the shackles and looked like justifying their status as World Champions.
The post-match plaudits will be sent the way of winger Jongi Nokwe, whose four tries made history for the home side. But in reality the Wallabies were as bad as the Springboks were good and had the hosts not won given their stream of possession it would have been a travesty.
Australian coach Robbie Deans will no doubt spend his next few sessions with his forwards concentrating on the lineout. Both hookers, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Stephen Moore, missed their man repeatedly and failed to throw the ball in straight. Pierre Spies and Juan Smith in particular thrived on the former fault and on several occasions such mistakes from the visitors led directly to Springbok scores.
But when Matt Giteau slotted a fifth-minute penalty a repeat of the previous meeting in Durban looked on the cards. It was a rare highlight for the Australian fly half however who could not exert any kind of control in the face of fierce Bok defence.
The troubles began for the Wallabies when their captain Stirling Mortlock took his eye off the ball on his own line. South Africa recovered and two tries in five minutes for Andries Bekker and Nokwe had their team mates, and the crowd, buzzing.
It was one way traffic after that as Nokwe grabbed tries number two and three before the break. Centre Adi Jacobs also crossed four minutes into the second half, put in by a lovely Jean de Villiers off load, and at 34-3 the contest was over.
Nokwe scored his fourth try five minutes after that, but stayed down and was stretchered off to a standing ovation.
By now Deans was sending on all of his replacements in a desperate attempt to get something from the match. George Smith and Moore both played a crucial part in the Wallabies' only genuine attack of the half and another substitute, wing Drew Mitchell, crossed in the corner.
But the Boks weren't finished and tries by Ruan Pienaar and Odwa Ndungane put a healthy and deserved gloss on the scoreline.
The real winners of the afternoon might very well be the All Blacks, who now only need a draw in Brisbane in a fortnight's time to win the 2008 Tri Nations.
Scorers: South Africa (27) 53 - Tries: Bekker, Nokwe (4), Jacobs, Pienaar, Ndungane. Cons: James (3), Montgomery (2); Pen: James.
Australia (3) 8 - Try: Mitchell; Pen: Giteau.
Teams: South Africa - Conrad Jantjies, Odwa Ndungane, Adrian Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Jongikhaya Nokwe, Butch James, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Andries Bekker, Brian Mujati, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Jannie du Plessis, Danie Rossouw, Luke Watson, Enrico Januarie, Ruan Pienaar, Percy Montgomery.
Australia - Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Timana Tahu, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Sam Cordingley, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh, Rocky Elsom, Hugh McMeniman, James Horwill, Matt Dunning, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.
Replacements: Stephen Moore, Al Baxter, Dean Mumm, George Smith, Brett Sheehan, Ryan Cross, Drew Mitchell.
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)