Rugby Championship

5 key moments in Bok loss

2014-09-08 11:23
Ruan Pienaar (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Yes, Irish referee George Clancy made some howlers at the weekend, but the Springboks should really have no excuses for losing to Australia in Perth.

The Wallabies sneaked a 24-23 victory after at one stage trailing 23-14 in the second half.

The performance of Clancy was no doubt below par, but the decision-making and poor execution of skills of the Springboks should also be highlighted.

Here are FIVE key moments which cost the Springboks in their Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies in Perth:

1. Jean de Villiers opting against 3 points

With his team leading 20-14 after 57 minutes, De Villiers gave up an easy three points by opting for an attacking lineout close to the Australian goal-line. Tendai Mtawarira knocked the ball on from the ensuing lineout and the chance of leading by more than a converted try was lost for the moment. Yes, sanity did prevail five minutes later when Morne Steyn put the Boks 23-14 up, but by that stage the South Africans could have gained even more momentum had De Villiers opted to go for posts earlier. It's really inexplicable to give up easy three points in an away Test when you are only in front by six...

2. Harsh penalty against Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 Vermeulen performed a massive (and perfectly legal) hit on Wallaby prop James Slipper in the 26th minute of the encounter. However, the Bok hard-man was somehow penalised by Clancy, who came to the conclusion that the tackle was high. The Boks were leading 14-8 at that stage and it allowed Bernard Foley to narrow the gap to three points - which proved pivotal in the final outcome.

CLICK HERE to watch Vermeulen's HUGE tackle on Slipper

3. Ruan Pienaar's tactical errors

The Boks were leading 23-14 after 63 minutes and had enjoyed a period of territorial dominance with time running out. However, when the Bok scrumhalf made the error of kicking a ball out directly into touch, it gave Australia a rare attacking opportunity inside the South African half. From the ensuing lineout, the Wallabies launched an attack which ended when Bryan Habana received a harsh yellow card. Had Pienaar not kicked directly into touch, the Wallabies would not have been able to surge up into Springbok territory and Habana would never have been sent off. Pienaar makes too many basic errors (he also dropped a ball close to the tryline earlier in the half), his tactical kicking is poor, and his general passing game is not up to scratch for an international scrumhalf.

4. Bryan Habana's yellow card

Yes, the tackle Habana committed in the 65th minute was high, but it was in no way malicious. Clancy went upstairs to refer the decision but somehow still made the dubious call - this after Bok captain Jean de Villiers had reminded him of a high tackle performed on him 10 minutes prior, which saw no card. How a TV ref, a referee and two assistant referees can get a decision so shockingly wrong should be of concern for the International Rugby Board's officials.

5. Morne Steyn's failure to find touch

With the Wallabies ferociously attacking the Springbok line in the dying stages of the match, Bismarck du Plessis stepped up to win a penalty on the ground. With little more than three minutes remaining, all the Boks had to do was kick out the penalty, win the lineout and wind down the clock. But Steyn inexplicably tried to go for distance and failed to find touch. It allowed the Aussies to counter-attack - and with Habana still in the sin-bin - they exploited the one-man advantage to score via winger Rob Horne. Bernard Foley kicked the conversion to give Australia a 24-23 lead with only a minute left to play. Steyn then made another error when he failed to kick the ensuing kick-off 10 metres, which allowed Australia to hold on for the win.

@Herman_Mostert on Twitter


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