Battling Australia topple South Africa in Rugby Championship
- The Wallabies produced an impressive performance with a 25-17 win over South Africa in their Rugby Championship Test at Adelaide Oval
- The win continued the misery for the Springboks in Australia, with the Wallabies unbeaten in the past eight clashes between the two sides
South Africa’s hopes of snapping a nine-year winless streak on Australian soil were shattered Saturday with a bruising 25-17 Rugby Championship defeat to the Wallabies at Adelaide Oval.
The home team took a 10-3 lead into the break, soaking up huge pressure, before piling on 15 points in the second half to once more deny the Springboks, who have not tasted victory in Australia since 2013, now spanning eight Tests. They have another chance next week in Sydney.
Two tries from Fraser McReight and one by the outstanding Marika Koroibete helped seal victory for Australia who bounced back from a shock 48-17 thumping by Argentina in San Juan this month.
“We started the game well and that put us in a good position. There were parts of that game where we had to show a lot of character, and we did that,” Australia captain James Slipper said.
“This is Test match rugby and it’s built on big moments and it’s usually the team that wins that goes well in those big moments. We had quite a few.”
Victory gave coach Dave Rennie breathing space after a stuttering year, overseeing three wins and three defeats in their build-up to next year’s World Cup.
“It just didn’t go our way. We camped on their try line for much of the first half but we couldn’t take the opportunities,” said Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi.
“But they played really well today from the get-go, and the game is about small margins – every opportunity they got they took it.”
The Wallabies started slowly in every Test this season, finding themselves chasing the game. They spoke before the match about coming out with guns blazing and lived up to expectations, with a try in the opening minute.
They won the ball from their own kick-off and, on the front foot, strung together several phases before flanker McReight barged over and Lolesio slotted an easy conversion.
The lead stretched to 10-0 minutes later after they won a breakdown penalty and Lolesio split the posts again.
The last time South Africa won against the Wallabies in Australia was a 38-12 victory in Brisbane nine years ago.
Among the run of defeats were two brutal ones last year on the Gold Coast (28-26) and Brisbane (30-17) and they quickly steadied the ship.
In front of more than 33,000 fans at a ground more used to hosting cricket, Kolisi’s side began exerting pressure, earning a penalty only for Handre Pollard to badly miss.
McReight made a try-saving tackle for the Wallabies in the 17th minute and Pollard fluffed another penalty before he finally found his radar for their first points of the day.
The game was being played almost entirely in Australia’s half, with the Wallabies’ defence clinging on despite Tom Wright being yellow-carded and Koroibete made an incredible try-saving tackle on Makazole Mapimpi three minutes before the break.
Mapimpi was free in the left corner but as he dived to cross the line Koroibete flew at full tilt to smash the ball out of the winger’s hands.
South Africa started the second stanza with 14 men after Faf de Klerk was controversially sin-binned a minute before the break for clipping fellow scrum-half Nic White on the face.
The Wallabies made the most of it with Koroibete finishing a smooth move that started with a break by Wright down the right to put them 15-3 in front.
They were flying and perfectly executed a training ground set-piece 10 minutes later.
Slipper timed a pass inside to Lolesio and he burst through into open space, offloading to the chasing McReight who dived over to secure another five points.
Kwagga Smith bagged two tries for the Springboks against the tiring Wallabies in the final five minutes, but it was not enough.