South Africa 24-16 Australia, Tri-Nations
Springboks end on a high
September 9, 2006
Fourie Du Preez is congratulated after crossing for South Africa
© Getty Images
South Africa ended their Tri-Nations campaign on a high with an impressive win over Australia at Ellis Park. It took a try by replacement winger Breyton Paulse to seal the game with eight minutes to go. The win meant the Springboks maintained their impressive home record, having lost only two games in three years under coach Jake White.
There were few highlights in a forgettable first half, which saw the teams locked at 3-3, except for a close call when flanker Pierre Spies handed off Rodney Black to spark a move where winger Wynand Olivier was eventually stopped short of the line. Bok fly-half Andre Pretorius put a poor first half behind him to put his side into the lead in the first minute of the second half, but it was soon snuffed out as the Australians scored the first try.
The Boks tried to run out of their own 22-metre area, but conceded a turnover in their danger zone and number eight Wycliff Palu flipped a beauty of an inside pass to put fly-half Stephen Larkham over. Pretorius pulled the Boks back within a point after the Australians were penalised for pulling the line-out down. Pretorius then took his team into the lead with a drop goal in the 52nd minute before the Boks took control. They launched a trademark line-out drive three minutes later, taking the maul up 15 metres before the Wallabies illegally dropped it and conceded the penalty.
In a flash, scrum-half Fourie du Preez tapped and bolted, bouncing out of one tackle and twisting his way through four defenders for the try. Australia pulled themselves back into the game with two penalties off South African mistakes to threaten them briefly, but then the Boks sealed the game with Paulse´s try. Taking an overlap right, the Boks sent full-back JP Pietersen straight down the field, did a one-two with Victor Matfield before being stopped close to the line. From the recycled ball, Paulse twisted and spun through two tackles, reached out and placed the ball over the line to confirm victory.