Planet Rugby

Wallabies end Springboks' run

Adam Ashley Cooper

Adam Ashley-Cooper dives over to score for the victorious Wallabies.

05th September 2009 10:24

Share:

South Africa will have to put their Tri-Nations champagne on ice for a little longer after succumbing to a 21-6 defeat to a much-improved Wallaby side in Brisbane on Saturday.

So much has been said and written about how good the current Springbok side is, but they met their match at the Suncorp Stadium and few would deny that Australia deserved their victory.

The Wallabies' two-tries-to-nil win means that the Tri-Nations is still far from decided as the Springboks must now travel to Hamilton in search of the two points they need to secure the trophy.

Robbie Deans and his team have come in for endless stick in recent weeks but they silenced their critics with a huge improvement at both the rucks and line-outs to provide their backs with plenty of quality possession.

From the very start, South Africa put any suspicions that would 'play it safe' to bed as they matched Australia's eagerness to spread the ball around, but the home side produced far more on attack. Three times the Wallabies were denied a try in the act of scoring by a last-gasp tackle.

Was a deviation from the kick-and chase game that worked so well in the Republic the right call for the Boks? While it produced the goods last week, the visitors only seriously threatened the Wallaby try-line on a handful of occasions.

Whether the Springboks' choice of tactics were appropriate on the night will be matter for debate, but it certainly produced an entertaining game of rugby, so we won't complain.

While the Wallaby backs provided all their team's points, the gold-clad pack laid the platform for victory by matching the Springboks' physicality at the breakdown.

While South Africa's scrum produced a better display than a week ago, for the most part it the Aussies had the upper hand when asked to crouch and engage.

A high-paced game got off to an intense start, but unlike their previous Tri-Nations matches this year, the Springboks were unable to build a lead as the Wallaby defence stood up to the early blitz.

Matt Giteau had given Australia a 6-0 lead from two penalties when Morné Steyn slotted a drop goal on the half-hour mark.

But it was clear that Australia were going to match their visitors in the contact situations and as the Wallabies grew in confidence, they started asking more and more questions of the Springboks, significantly actually competing at line-out time, unlike earlier in the game.

Not that Victor Matfield and co. were given a huge headache at the set piece, but the best line-out in the world were not able to dominate their hosts in the fashion they did in the two previous encounters.

Giteau replied in kind to Steyn's drop a few minutes later (from a movement started on solid line-out possession) to restore the gap only for Steyn to find the mark form the kicking tee on 37 minutes.

The first half might have been tryless but it wasn't for lack of effort from both sides - Australia were denied a try by a brilliant tackle from Bryan Habana on Lachie Turner above the whitewash while Heinrich Brüssow had a try disallowed for a forward pass with half time beckoning.

The threat for the home side was coming from South Africa's midfield with Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie twice combining to break through.

The teams headed for the changing room with the hosts 9-6 up and Habana off the field injured.

Twice Australia came within inches of scoring in the third quarter as they began to assert themselves, only to be denied by brilliant tackles in the final inches (Du Preez ripping the ball from Will Genia's hands and Fourie bumping Giteau into touch in the corner).

Australia finally broke the deadlock when Adam Ashley-Cooper ran a great angle on Berrick Barnes' outside to slice through the Bok midfield.

Trailing by ten points the South Africans were forced to kick more and more, but with Habana nowhere to be seen the effectiveness of their chase had disappeared.

It was all Wallabies in the final ten minutes as the Springboks began to run out of options on attack and were succumbing to the pressure on defence and in the scrums.

James O'Connor provided the icing on the cake when Rocky Elsom blocked a Du Preez clearance and young flyer pounced on the loose ball to seal the win.

Man of the match: The home pack deserve a collective pat on the back for their engagement, illustrated by a couple of crunching tackles from Tatafu Polota-Nau - if he had lasted more than half an hour, he would have been in the running for our gong. But we'll give the award to Berrick Barnes, whose return made a huge difference to the Wallaby back-line with the extra options he provides to Giteau. The two regularly swapped places to share the kicking load and Barnes' pass to put Ashley-Cooper clear was class.

Moment of the match: It was pretty much all square until Ashley-Cooper's try gave the home side a ten point lead - they never looked back.

Villain of the match: Not a villain to be seen. This match was a true advertisement for the game as a whole.

The Scorers

For Australia:

Tries:Ashley-Cooper, O'Connor
Con: Giteau
Pens: Giteau 2
Drop: Giteau

For South Africa:

Pen:Steyn
Drop goal:Steyn

Australia: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Will Genia, 8 George Smith (capt), 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 James Horwill, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Quade Cooper, 22 Peter Hynes.

South Africa: 15 Ruan Pienaar, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 John Smit (c), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Adi Jacobs, 22 Frans Steyn .

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , December 5
Montpellier vs Bath19:45
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
Friday , December 5
Brive vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Rovigo18:30
Newcastle vs Stade Francais20:00
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath 25 - 6 HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Report
Munster 21 - 20 UlsterMunster vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath933
2Northampton830
3Exeter828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821